Police officer Amber Guyger was convicted of murder by a Dallas County jury on Tuesday for fatally shooting Botham Jean in his own apartment last year.
According to the Dallas Morning News, the verdict came following five hours of deliberation by the jury.
The court now moves to the punishment phase of Guyger’s trial. In Texas, murder carries a sentence of five to 99 years or life in prison. The charge is not eligible for probation.
Guyger, 31, fatally shot 26-year-old Jean in his apartment last year. She had said she mistook his apartment for her own and thought Jean, who was sitting on the couch eating ice cream, was a burglar.
During testimony, she told the jury she shot Jean because she was ‘scared,’ even though Jean was only armed with a bowl of ice cream.
One of the prosecutors asked her during cross-examination if she could have stepped out of the apartment after realizing someone was there and called for backup. She answered, ‘Yes.’
She is the first Dallas officer convicted of murder since the 1970s.
On Monday, Judge Tammy Kemp ruled the jury could consider the Castle Doctrine during deliberations.
The Castle Doctrine, similar to the Stand Your Ground Law, allows for “using force (even deadly force) in the protection of a home, vehicle, or other property if someone attempts to forcibly enter or remove an individual from the premises.” The judge also allowed the jury to consider manslaughter.
According to some legal experts, the judge may have been appeal-proofing the trial outcome by including Castle Doctrine and “mistake of fact.” An appeals court may have more easily overturned the conviction if jurors weren’t allowed to consider both.