The woman who killed Botham Jean was sentenced to ten years in prison earlier today. During his victim impact statement, Botham Jean’s brother Brandt stunned the courtroom. You can see and hear his statement above. The Dallas Morning News reports:
This was Brandt Jean’s chance to tell Guyger exactly what he thought of the former Dallas officer after she was sentenced to 10 years in prison for murdering his brother last year when she mistook his apartment for hers.
There were only two rules for his “victim impact statement”: no threats and no profanity.
What came next was a stunning 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.”
He told Guyger that he didn’t even want her to go to prison.
“Can I give her a hug, please?” Brandt asked. “Please.”
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.
“Whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother.” –Matthew 12:50
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.“ –1 John 4:7