SEARCY, Ark.- Botham Jean was well known at his alma mater, Harding University, as an outstanding student, singer and a worship leader.
Students and faculty have kept him in their hearts and minds since his tragic death just over a year ago. They’ve also been paying close attention to the trial of his killer, Amber Guyger.
“I can’t take his picture out of my face,” says Chuck Hicks, who is an assistant music professor at Harding. “He’s on my desk, he’s in my hallway, he’s on this wall right here.”
Hicks was taught Jean during his time at the school and also led the “Good News Singers” which Jean was a part of.
He says the two were close and would talk endlessly on bus trips with the music group.
“We worked our way through an awful lot of the challenges of humanity with him at my right side,” says Hicks.
When Jean was killed, the university was heartbroken with the rest of those who knew him. They closely followed Guyger’s trial but when it ended with a guilty verdict there were mixed emotions.
“On this planet we don’t really get justice,” says Hicks. “What we get is something that will make us feel just a little bit better about being human.”
Hicks says he’s sad for Botham’s family but he’s also sad for Guyger’s family. “She didn’t choose it on purpose. She didn’t choose to ruin her life and I’m really sad for that.”
That sentiment echoed by Harding University president Bruce McLarty.
“There are no winners in a situation like this,” says McLarty. “We know there is no verdict that will take away the pain for this family and the sense of loss that we all have for an incredible young man who held such tremendous promise.”