A former Dallas police officer accused of killing an unarmed man in his apartment has been charged with murder, officials said Friday.
Amber Guyger, who is white, allegedly mistook the apartment for hers when she shot Botham Jean, who is black, at his home in September.
Guyger was charged with manslaughter three days after the death of 26-year-old Jean.
The new grand jury indictment comes after deliberations and days of testimony from witnesses and Jean’s family.
“I want to thank the grand jury for the diligence they have put into this case,” Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson said at a news conference Friday.
Guyger’s attorney, Robert Rogers, released a statement late Friday: “I’m not surprised the grand jury has reached an indictment. There is a wave of hateful emotions brewing. Yes. a lot of political pressure seems to have played a role in how the DA handled this I don’t know what happened on the grand jury, but I believe the emotion that was put into this may have been led the grand jury to deviate from focusing solely on the law and the evidence.
“This case has not been heard in a fair forum,” added Rogers. “When we come to a fair forum in front of 12 impartial citizens, I believe that the law and the evidence will show that Amber Guyer (sic) is innocent.”
Mr Johnson said prosecutors spoke to more than 300 witnesses in their investigation before presenting evidence and explaining the law to a grand jury.
“I was confident when we did that, they knew exactly what to do,” she said.
Johnson stressed that the murder charge “is doing it intentionally and knowingly” while manslaughter is a “reckless” act.
Guyger filed himself and has since signed up for the bond, Johnson said.
“I truly believe she committed a terrible crime to my son. He doesn’t deserve it,” Jean’s mother, Allison Jean, told reporters on Friday. “He felt safe in that apartment and he was compromised.”
“This is a breakthrough, but it’s also just a beginning,” family members told reporters, explaining that a grand jury indictment “doesn’t mean the case itself would be a hit.”
“We are delighted that we have taken this step but we are focused on resolving this case.”
She told police she opened the door to the apartment she believed was hers and saw “a large figure” that she thought was a thief, according to an affidavit.
Guyger was fired by the Dallas Police Department a few weeks after the shooting.
Robert Rogers, Guyger’s attorney, said in a statement in September, “What happened on September 6 was a tragic mistake and words can never fully describe our sadness. I feel for the pain that those who know and love Botham Jean have to endure.”
“Amber Guyger is absolutely devastated by what happened,” the statement said.
ABC News’ Marcus Moore and Jim Scholz contributed to this report.
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