DALLAS (AP) — Jury selection is set to resume Friday in the murder trial of a white former Texas police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black man inside his own apartment in a case that that has ignited fierce debate over race, politics and policing.
Potential jurors in Amber Guyger’s trial for the killing of Botham Jean are expected to return to a Dallas courthouse where they will be questioned by prosecutors, defense attorneys and the judge about their ability to serve in the high-profile case.
The demographics of the jury will be closely watched in a case that has drawn national attention The circumstances of the shooting sparked outrage and critics, including Jean’s family, have questioned why Guyger was not taken into custody immediately after the shooting and whether race played a factor in her decision to use deadly force.
Guyger shot and killed Jean in the apartment building where they both lived last September. Guyger, 31, was off-duty but still in uniform at the times, She told investigators that she confused Jean’s apartment with her own and mistook the 26-year-old accountant from St. Lucia for a burglar.
Last week, on the anniversary of Jean’s death, hundreds of potential jurors were given questionnaires asking about their views and knowledge of the case. The opposing lawyers are expected to have eliminated many people based on their answers and will further cull the pool through questioning Friday.
State District Judge Tammy Kemp has set a goal of selecting the jurors and alternates by the end of the day Friday. Guyger’s trial is set to begin Sept. 23.
Attorneys for the former Dallas police officer requested in July that her trial be moved to another county, claiming “prejudicial” media coverage and statements from public officials “poisoned the jury pool” in Dallas.
Kemp has said she will see whether a jury can be seated before ruling on the request.