A white former Dallas police officer who said she fatally shot her unarmed, black neighbour after mistaking his apartment for her own was found guilty of murder on Tuesday.
A jury reached the verdict in Amber Guyger‘s, high-profile trial for the killing of Botham Jean after six days of witness testimony but just a handful of hours of deliberation.
The basic facts of the unusual shooting were not in dispute throughout the trial.
In September 2018, Guyger walked up to Jean’s apartment — which was on the fourth floor, directly above hers on the third — and found the door unlocked.
She was off duty but still dressed in her police uniform after a long shift when she shot Jean with her service weapon. The 26-year-old accountant had been eating a bowl of ice cream before Guyger entered his home.
WATCH: Botham Jean’s mother testifies after Amber Guyger convicted of murder
Jean, who grew up in the Caribbean island nation of St. Lucia, came to the U.S. for college and starting his career as an accountant. His shooting drew widespread attention because of the strange circumstances and because it was one in a string of shootings of unarmed black men by white police officers.
Guyger was arrested three days after the killing. She was later fired and charged with murder, but only spoke publicly about the shooting upon taking the witness stand last Friday.
Tension has been high during the trial in Dallas, the same city where an attack three years ago killed five police officers.
The 31-year-old tearfully apologized for killing Jean and told the jurors she feared for her life upon finding the door to what she thought was her apartment unlocked.
WATCH: Botham Jean’s sister, family attorneys and community reacts to guilty verdict of Amber Guyger
Guyger said that Jean came toward her at a fast walk when she entered with her gun out, but prosecutors have suggested he was just rising from a couch toward the back of the room when the officer shot him.
In a frantic 911 call played repeatedly during the trial, Guyger said “I thought it was my apartment” nearly 20 times.
Her lawyers argued that the identical physical appearance of the apartment complex from floor to floor frequently led to tenants to the wrong apartments.
Prosecutors, however, questioned how Guyger could have missed numerous signs that she was in the wrong place, and suggested she was distracted by sexually explicit phone messages with her police partner.
WATCH: Botham Jean’s family speaks about murder charge
They also asked why Guyger didn’t radio in for help when she thought there was a break-in at her home. Guyger said that going through the doorway with her pistol drawn, “was the only option that went through my head.”
The case went to a jury on Monday.
WATCH: Dallas protesters rally against shooting of unarmed black man
Notably, during a session away from the jury, Dallas KTVT reported that defense attorneys and prosecutors argued over the language used in instructions to jurors.
At that time, Judge Tammy Kemp ruled that the jury could consider the “Castle Doctrine” as part of their deliberations — a move which has drawn criticism.
The Castle Doctrine is a legal notion that allows a person to use force, including deadly force, to protect one’s home or property “if someone attemps to forcibly enter or remove an individual from the premises.” The law is similar to Stand Your Ground Laws.
— With files from Global News
WATCH: Attorneys discuss murder charge against Dallas police officer