DALLAS - Amber Guyger's defense attorneys say they were deeply moved by the closing moments of their client's murder trial.
Toby Shook and Robert Rogers were just feet away from Botham Jean's younger brother, Brandt, when he embraced Guyger in a display of forgiveness on Wednesday afternoon.
Shook and Rogers looked on after the week and a half-long trial had just come to a conclusion. Guyger received 10 years in prison after being convicted of murder the day before. The two said they were disappointed in the conviction, but also know that Jean had done nothing wrong.
“All things considered I think the jury did the best job they could with the difficult, difficult facts that they had and at the end of the day, you know, they gave her a lower sentence due to all the circumstances. They saw the good in her and the good in him,” Rogers said.
Like everyone else, they were amazed by the hug felt ‘round the world.
“It was an amazing moment, never seen anything like it,” Shook said. “When he began to ask the judge if he could hug her, she was saying, ‘Yes, yes, yes, yes’ over again and again, nodding her head and leapt from the chair to grab him.”
Rogers called Brandt Jean’s gesture “incredible.”
“I think the healing started to begin in her at that point,” he said.
They were also amazed by the openness and actions of Judge Tammy Kemp.
“For Judge Kemp to hug the victim’s family and then to come over and show Amber the grace,” Rogers said, was remarkable.
Shook and Rogers were able to hear the conversation the judge had with Guyger.
“The judge said you got to forgive yourself first and then they talked and Amber said ‘I don’t have my Bible,’” Shook said.
That’s when Kemp left the court, went to her chambers and returned with her personal Bible.
“To share their Christian beliefs and some words from the bible, John 3:16, you could tell it had a powerful effect on Amber,” Rogers said.
Guyger left court clutching Judge Kemp’s Bible. Kemp asked Shook and Rogers back to her courtroom on Thursday.
“The judge gave us a Bible, a study Bible, to take to Amber. I think it’s part of the judge’s power in using her power in terms of the rehabilitation,” Rogers said.
“I can’t talk about it without getting choked up, really. For all the love and grace that’s come out of this when we, a year ago, to get here is amazing from a few people just showing grace,” Rogers said.
Shook believes something can be learned from Jean and Guyger’s hug.
“No matter how bad a situation, is something good can come out of it,” Shook said.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation on Thursday filed a complaint with the Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct regarding Kemp’s actions. The foundation said it was inappropriate for Kemp to give Guyger a Bible and point to specific passages to read. They call it a violation of church and state.