DALLAS - Jury selection in the murder trial for former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger is set to begin on the first anniversary of the victim’s death.
There was a pre-trial hearing Thursday, in which the judge set the date for jury selection. Guyger was in court for the hearing.
Judge Tammy Kemp also admonished officers of the court and the media about leaks of evidence and information.
Guyger shot and killed 26-year-old St. Lucia native Botham Jean inside his Southside Flats apartment on Sept. 6, 2018.
She had allegedly just finished up a 12-hour shift and walked into the wrong apartment thinking it was hers. She said she shot Jean because she thought he was an intruder.
Judge Tammy Kemp scheduled jury selection to begin on Sept. 6. Testimony was set to begin on Sept. 23.
Guyger, who is under a gag order like all in this case, was expressionless walking through the Frank Crowley Courthouse behind defense attorneys Robert Rogers and Toby Shook.
Judge Kemp also admonished officers of the court and the media about leaks of evidence and information. This related to the audio from Guyger’s 911 that call that was leaked and published by some media outlets.
She said, "I really was dismayed to find out that someone lacked the integrity and fortitude to honor the gag order." The defense and prosecution both denied any involvement in the leak.
The judge then warned the media that if any additional evidence that should be head by jurors is published, reporters will only be allowed to cover the trial with pen and paper.
Prosecutors told the judge that Dallas PD is still investigating.
“We want this case to be tried in the courtroom. We want this case to be tried in Dallas County, and the frustrating part right now, we feel that strategically, people are leaking this type of information now a couple of months before the trial for the mere purpose of trying to taint the jury pool,” said Daryl K. Washington, who is the civil attorney for the Jean family.
One attorney who is not involved in this case - former prosecutor, now defense attorney Russell Wilson - said both sides want to be able to present evidence to a jury that has not been exposed publicly in some unfiltered way. Without prosecutors and defense teams getting a chance to fit and frame the information.
“The attorneys would have to deal with, what’s the context? What context do we want to try to put to this evidence,” Wilson said. “You don’t get to put it in context, and context is everything. You know, snapshots paint one picture, but context paints an entirely different picture.”
“The family will definitely be here, and I’m sure from an emotional point of view, will have a great emotional impact on them,” Dallas West Church of Christ Minister Sammie Berry said.
Berry added that it’s important people remember the kind of person Jean was.
“Botham was an outstanding young man who was at home, lost his life. I mean, he didn’t have any criminal activity or anything. And so we just want justice for Botham,” Berry said.
The trial, like the killing of Botham Jean, is expected to draw international coverage.
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