A Gripping video shows furious judge in Amber Guyger murder trial

Day one of former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger's murder trial for fatally shooting her unarmed neighbor Botham Jean in his own home more than a year ago was a test of patience for judge Tammy Kemp.

The veteran district court official lost her temper at least twice during Monday's proceedings, starting with the moment she found out Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot violated a gag order the night before the trial's start.

Creuzot was seen discussing the Guyger case with a local TV news crew with fox affiliate KDFW, explaining why his office had decided to charge Guyger with murder.

Guyger's defense attorneys informed Kemp of the situation ahead of the trial's start while motioning for the judge to declare a mistrial.

'Oh there was another interview last night?' Kemp asked.

Yes your honor,' replied one of Guyger's attorneys, leaving Kemp momentarily speechless.

The judge rolled her eyes, shook her head, and grunted as she turned in her chair to face the back wall before standing up and hunching over.

After composing herself, she turned around to make sure she had heard the attorneys correctly.

'Let me be clear,' Kemp said, 'last night, the evening prior to the start of this trial, our elected DA did an interview about this trial?' 

Guyger's defense attorney used the opportunity to once again raise her previous request for a change of venue, arguing the former officer could not possibly receive a fair trial in the county where virtually resident has prior knowledge of the case thanks to the local media.

The judge asked the 12 jurors and four alternate jurors individually if they had seen Creuzot's interview. All of them confirmed they had not seen it or any media coverage on the case since they were selected.

When a prosecutor was addressing the court during the same hearing, an unidentified journalist's laptop started blasting loud music.

'OK. Hold a second. Wait a minute, hold on hold on. Why do you have a laptop in here?' Kemp shouted.

'I'm so sorry,' the reporter replied.

'No, I asked you why do you have a laptop in here? Are you an attorney?' Kemp asked.

'No ma'am,' said the journalist.

'Please give that laptop to the bailiff and you [bailiff] and you put it wherever you wish to put it. I've asked - I don't know how [much] plainer I can make it.'

'I'm so sorry,' the journalist said. Seconds later, the laptop's music started blasting again.

Kemp told the bailiff the give her the laptop, which she snatched and took with her back into her chambers before emerging again some time later and giving everyone in the gallery a stern warning.

'We're not going to have this trial disrupted repeatedly by cell phones, laptops and computers going off,' she said. 'If your cell phone or laptop goes off or I see it, I am going to confiscate and keep it until this trial is concluded one way or another.' 

After Kemp dismissed the jury for the day, she told the prosecution, including Assistant District Attorney Jason Hermus to warn their boss, Creuzot, that the gag order issued on the court officials directly involved with Guyger's trial applied to him as well.

Guyger is a former Dallas Police Officer on trial for murder after fatally shooting her unarmed black neighbor, Botham Jean, in his own apartment a year ago.

She told investigators she confused Jean's unit with her own that night and mistook him for an intruder in her home before shooting him to death.

Guyger was only arrested 72 hours later and then charged with just manslaughter. 

The case sparked anger across the country, particularly in the Dallas African-American community, which saw it as potentially another instance of a white police officer getting off lightly for killing a black man.

The Dallas Police Department led by Chief U. Renee Hall, who is black, took two weeks to fire Guyger despite charging her with manslaughter after Botham's death.

Following the backlash and a grand jury investigation, Guyger was charged with first-degree murder. The charge is punishable under Texas law with up to life in prison. 

Guyger was fired after she received criminal charges.

Jurors must decide whether Guyger is guilty of murder, manslaughter, something else or nothing at all in the shooting case. The trial resumes Tuesday morning.

stella Posted on September 30, 2019 14:20

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