A Dallas judge decided Monday to keep the murder trial for ex-Dallas cop Amber Guyger in Dallas County rather than moving it to a county more likely to seat a whiter jury.
State District Judge Tammy Kemp, of the 204th Judicial District Court in Dallas, made her decision on an earlier motion from Guyger’s defense team asking that the trial be moved due to impartiality concerns regarding the jury, according to WFAA.
Guyger, who is white, is accused of murdering Black PwC associate Botham Jean after she walked into his apartment, allegedly thinking it was her own, and fatally shot him Sept. 6, 2018. Guyger has said she thought he was an intruder.
She would have been more likely to face a whiter and more conservative jury if her trial was moved, according to The Dallas Morning News.
“Here’s what little we know about the 12 people seated in the Amber Guyger Murder trial jury,” NBC 5 reporter Larry Collins tweeted Monday. “8 heard of the case, 4 had not. 4 alternates heard of case. Of that total, 15 hadn’t formed an opinion.”
A week after hundreds of potential jurors showed up for the first time in Guyger’s trial, jurors reconvened again Friday for questioning in what had already become a case of national interest.
Assistant District Attorney Jason Fine questioned jurors Friday about whether Guyger’s work would “change the burden of proof,” according to The Associated Press.
“I do believe that a police officer should be held to a higher standard,” a white woman said.
Others admitted they would be unable to convict Guyger because she was a cop when she shot Jean, and only about a dozen of the 220 potential jurors raised their hands when Fine asked who had heard “nothing” about the case, The Associated Press reported.
A Hispanic man told Fine he had “already formed an opinion,” although he refused to say what that opinion was, and a white man said his feeling that “we have a huge gun control problem” would affect his partiality in the case.
Kemp urged potential jurors to “set aside any preconceived notions” because they might be “far afield,” according to The Associated Press.
Guyger’s trial is slated to start Sept. 23.