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Amber Guyger's trial ends on a merciful note with hugs


Botham Jean's brother had the chance to tell the ex-Dallas cop exactly what he thought of her & He chose to forgive.



Chants of “no justice, no peace” drifted from the hallway into the the 204th District Court, and then Botham Jean’s 18-year-old brother stepped up to the witness stand Wednesday.

This was Brandt Jean’s chance to tell Guyger exactly what he thought of her after the ex-cop was sentenced to 10 years in prison for murdering his brother last year when she mistook his apartment for hers and thought he was a burglar.


There were only two rules for his “victim impact statement”: no threats and no profanity.

What came next was a moment that played out after many had left the courtroom and the world watched online. Even courthouse veterans wept at something they’d never seen before.

Jean took a breath into the microphone and began to speak. He hadn’t told his family what he planned to say, he told Guyger. He spoke for himself, not them.

"If you truly are sorry," Jean said. "I know I can speak for myself, I forgive you."
The prosecution had asked for 28 years -- the age Botham would have been on Sunday had Guyger not shot him last September when she was off-duty but still in her police uniform.

Instead, Jean told Guyger that he wanted what Botham would have wanted.

"I think giving your life to Christ would be the best thing that Botham would want for you," he told her. "I love you as a person, and I don't wish anything bad on you."

"Can I give her a hug, please?" Brandt asked. "Please."

Botham Shem Jean, 26, was shot and killed Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018,.
Botham Shem Jean, 26, was shot and killed Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018,.(Instagram)
State District Judge Tammy Kemp gave him the OK.

Guyger hesitated for just a moment, and then she rushed toward Jean and wrapped her arms around his neck. He wrapped his arms around her, his hands spread across her back.

They whispered as they embraced, their words heard only by them. Twice Jean and Guyger started to pull apart but then hugged again. Both were in tears when they finally broke away.

The jury was gone. So was Guyger’s family. Only bailiffs, the attorneys, the Jean family, the judge and a handful of journalists remained.

Kemp wiped away tears, and sobs could be heard in the courtroom.

Jean walked out of the courtroom when he was done. His father, Bertrum, smiled and nodded, giving his son a thumbs-up. Brandt and Botham's mother, Allison Jean, was in tears.

Kemp then left, too, through a door behind her bench. She re-emerged through another door, the one the jury always used to enter and exit. She walked over to the Jean family and hugged them.

"I'm so sorry," she said to each of them. "I'm so sorry for your loss."

"Thank you for the way you modeled Christ," Kemp told Allison Jean.

But Kemp wasn’t done.

She walked over in front of the defense table where Guyger still sat.

Kemp crouched in front of Guyger, still wearing her black robe and gave her a Bible. Those watching on the internet could see the judge and Guyger. But they couldn't hear what happened.

They spoke quietly, with Guyger in tears and Kemp punctuated the conversation by gesturing at the Bible and saying, “Read this.”

Guyger leaped up to hug Kemp. The judge paused for a second, unsure of what to do.

Then, Tammy Kemp embraced Guyger, who whispered in her ear.


Only the judge’s responses were heard: “Ma’am, it’s not because I am good. It’s because I believe in Christ. None of us are worthy.”

“Forgive yourself.”

Attorneys, bailiffs and journalists wiped away tears as they watched Jean and Guyger hug and as they leaned in to hear Kemp’s words. A box of tissues was passed around.

They noted -- with puffy faces and red noses -- that they had never before cried in court. That they had never seen anything quite like what had just happened.

And that, chances are, they never would again.

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