Warrants issued to gather more evidence in police shooting that killed Botham Jean

Search warrants executed by investigators with the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office are seeking data from the door locks of a police officer and the man she is accused of fatally wounding, according to published reports.

Dallas Police Officer Amber Guyger is accused of fatally shooting Botham Shem Jean after walking into his apartment on Sept. 6, mistakenly believing that it was her apartment, according to police.

Guyger was off-duty when the shooting occurred, but still in uniform after completing her shift.

Downloaded data from the electronic door locks could possibly reveal whether the door to Jean’s apartment was locked and what key was used to enter if it was, according to Lee Merritt, one of the attorneys representing Jean’s family.

Merritt said Friday he is more comfortable with the way the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office is investigating the case. Merritt had complained about the issuance of past warrants and the release of the information that was collected.

Merritt said the district attorney’s investigators may be unsure whether Guyger is being forthcoming in her statements and are looking for evidence that will either prove or disprove her version of events.

The warrants allowed for the removal of the front doors of both apartments, their door locks and downloaded data from the door locks, according to reporting from WFAA.

The warrants also show that photographs, videos and laser measurements of firearm trajectory were taken in Jean’s apartment and gunshot residue from his apartment’s door frame and kitchen wall were collected, the WFAA story said.

Another search warrant allowed investigators to collect communications from property management connected to the shooting and seize the logs from access doors and gates and an elevator access door lock as well as a lock audit report for each of their apartments, the WFAA story stated.

Merritt said there will be more evidence that will come to light as this investigation continues.

Lawyers for Jean’s family have asked the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office to push for a murder indictment and an internal investigation concerning information released concerning the collection of evidence during the probe into Jean’s death.

What crime Guyger is indicted for will be up to a Dallas County grand jury, Merritt said.

Merritt said that even though marijuana was found in Jean’s apartment, there is no way to prove that the marijuana belonged to Jean, and that information should have been sealed and not revealed to the public.

Jean was being presented to the public as a university graduate on the partnership track at a prestigious firm who sang in the choir, Merritt said. But the headline that day was drugs were found in Jean’s apartment.

“It was an unnecessary, tactless, black eye and quite frankly the Dallas Police Department should have sealed those warrants,” Merritt said. “I want the media and public officials to know what kind of damage they can do when they criminalize the victim.”

Officials with the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

An official with the Texas Department of Public Safety would not comment concerning the details of the investigation, but released the following statement: “The Texas Rangers, in conjunction with the Dallas County District Attorney’s (DA) Office, are continuing to conduct a thorough and independent investigation into the shooting death. Once the investigation is complete, it will be submitted in its entirety to the DA’s Office for prosecution. The Rangers are not releasing any additional information on the investigation at this time.”

This story includes information from Star-Telegram archives.
Mitch Mitchell: 817-390-7752, @mitchmitchel3
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