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A federal judge recently ruled that the city of Dallas is not liable for former officer Amber Guyger shooting Botham Jean in his own apartment in 2018.
U.S. District Judge Barbara Lynn dismissed the city from a civil lawsuit that the Jean family brought after the 26-year-old was killed by Guyger, who was off-duty at the time.
The ruling leaves 31-year-old Guyger as the sole defendant in the suit. Jean’s family may have paved the way for the dismissal (or unlikelihood) of a large financial settlement, and Guyger’s potential early release from prison, when Botham’s brother publicly embraced her during trail.
“I forgive and I love you as a person and I don’t wish anything bad on you,” Brant Jean said in a statement to his brother’s killer during her sentencing.
Now that the city of Dallas has been dismissed from the civil lawsuit over Botham’s death, the family plans to file a separate lawsuit against South Side Flats, the apartment complex where Guyger fatally shot Jean, attorney Lee Merritt said.
Merritt says the confusing layout and faulty door mechanism created circumstances that led to Jean’s death in September 2018, Dallas News reports.
Jean was shot by Guyger after she entered his fourth floor apartment by mistake, believing it to be hers. Guyger lived directly below.
She was convicted of murder on Oct. 1 and is serving a 10-year sentence. During her trial, an investigator testified that Jean’s door was defective.
“It wouldn’t shut all the way,” Merritt said. “If it had shut all the way, Amber Guyger wouldn’t have been able to get in.”
He added, “The lock would snag and not connect in response to certain types of weather.”
Guyger testified that “the door sprang open,” Merritt said.
“During the trial, something like 70 percent of the people on the third and fourth floors said that they’ve gone to the wrong floors before,” he said.
Merritt is appealing the federal court’s decision to remove the city of Dallas from the family’s civil lawsuit.
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