Former police officer Amber Guyger was sentenced to 10 years for the murder of Botham Jean earlier today. That was at the lower end of the 5 to 99 years she could have received after her conviction. Outside the courtroom that sentence was greeted with some anger by local activists who argued the sentence was a slap in the face:
However, inside the courtroom, it was a different story. Members of both families were allowed to offer statements. Botham Jean’s younger brother Brandt said he forgave Guyger and wished her the best because that’s what his brother would have wanted. The Washington Post reports that according to the family, Brandt was hardest hit by the loss, so this is quite a powerful reaction.
“I don’t want to say twice or for the 100th time how much you’ve taken from us. I think you know that,” Brandt said. He continued, “If you truly are sorry, I know—I can speak for myself, I forgive you. And I know if you go to God and ask him, he will forgive you.”
Saying he was speaking for himself, not for his family, Brandt added, “I love you just like anyone else.”
“I want the best for you because I know that that’s exactly what Botham would want you to do, and the best would be [to] give your life to Christ,” he said.
Then turning to the Judge, he asked, “I don’t know if this is possible but can I give her a hug please?’ The judge allowed it and, in front of the bench, the victim’s brother and the woman who shot and killed him hugged for nearly a minute while the judge wiped tears from her eyes.
I don’t know what to say except that you’ll probably find it hard to make it through this clip with dry eyes. That and what an extraordinary young man Brandt Jean is. If this really is what his older brother Botham would have wanted then he must have been pretty extraordinary too.