Witness in cop's murder trial apparently murdered

The trial of former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger and her subsequent conviction for the murder of Botham Jean may be over, but the story has taken yet another bizarre twist. We learned yesterday that a key witness who testified at the trial was shot dead on Friday. But Joshua Brown had time to call the police before he expired, letting them know what happened. A few details have been released, but there is still no suspect in custody as of this morning.

A neighbor who testified in the murder trial of former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger was fatally shot Friday night at a Dallas apartment complex, police said Saturday.

Civil rights attorney S. Lee Merritt, who represented Jean’s family, tweeted Saturday that Brown’s mother asked him “to help find out who murdered her son.”

Without mentioning Brown by name, the Dallas Police Department said in a news release that a shooting victim had called police about 10:37 p.m. Friday and later died at a hospital.

This killing is raising obvious questions in the media and among the public, but with so few details available we shouldn’t be jumping to any conclusions yet. It’s certainly tragic, but also odd that a witness in such a high-profile trial would be gunned down within days of the trial’s conclusion, but if you’re trying to silence a witness you would generally want to do it before they testify, right?

The police report that Brown was at an apartment complex roughly six miles away from the one where Guyger and Jean lived. He’s also described as having been a neighbor of Jean’s, but a separate report indicates that he’s since moved to the new location. Since he was on the phone with the cops before he died, if he knew his assailant we might assume that the person would either already be in custody or at least be being sought as a person of interest.

Still, it’s entirely possible that this was some random act of violence and/or robbery that just turns out to be a tragic coincidence.

I’ve been following the Guyger story for a while, but haven’t written about it. There’s a lot to digest, but frankly, I still don’t understand how the prosecution managed to obtain a murder conviction. I’m not saying Guyger should have got off scot-free in this case and could certainly see her going down for manslaughter of some sort. But murder?

Murder implies intent of some sort, even if it’s a spur of the moment decision. This report has most of the details that came out during the trial and I’m not seeing it. To my knowledge, nobody has even suggested that Guyger even knew Botham Jean, to say nothing of having some sort of beef with him leading her to want him dead. She’d been working heavy overtime shifts and was exhausted when heading home.

She parks on the wrong floor of her apartment complex garage, gets out and walks to the door on that floor corresponding to her own. The door’s lock is damaged so it can just be pushed open, leading her to believe someone might have burglarized her home. Pushing the door open, she sees a man she doesnt’ know inside. From that point a series of very bad decisions are made to be sure and Jean winds up dead. Guyger handled the entire thing horribly and is clearly responsible for Jean’s death. But was it murder? It just sounds like a series of tragic mistakes.

In any event, hopefully the Dallas PD will identify and bring in the person or persons who shot Brown. Once their identity is known we should have a better idea of whether this was an act of revenge in some way related to the trial or yet another tragic coincidence.