In a surprising moment, Judge Kemp left the bench to give Guyger a Bible.
A verdict of guilty was reached in the case against Amber Guyger, the former Dallas police officer who shot and killed Botham Jean last year. She was was sentenced to 10 years in prison, and will be eligible for parole after five years.
The case, which was nationally covered, is now making headlines for the extraordinary moment of grace which occurred between Guyger and members of the deceased’s family. During the course of victim impact statements, the deceased’s brother, Brandt Jean, told Guyger and the court:
“If you truly are sorry, I know I can speak for myself, I forgive you. I know if you go to God and ask him, he will forgive you,” said Brandt Jean. “And I don’t think anyone can say it, again I’m speaking for myself… but I love you just like anyone else. And I’m not gonna say I hope you rot and die just like my brother did but I presently want the best for you. And I wasn’t going to ever say this in front of my family or anyone, but I don’t even want you to go to jail.
I want the best for you, because I know that’s exactly what Botham would want you to do. And the best would be to give your life to Christ. I’m not going to say anything else. I think giving your life to Christ would be the best thing that Botham would want you to do. Again I love you as a person and I don’t wish anything bad on you. I don’t know if this is possible, but can I give her a hug, please? Please?”
Following the emotional statement, Brandt requested an oportunity to hug Guyger, which he was granted by Judge Tammy Kemp. WFAA reports that the two stood in an embrace for nearly a full minute exchanging words that no one else could hear.
When the trial had concluded, Judge Kemp left the bench and approached the Brandt family to offer condolences, then Kemp approached Guyger as well. Kemp gave Guyger a copy of the Bible and directed her to John 3:16, which she said would strengthen Guyger.
The Judge leaned in to speak privately to Guyger, who’s response made Kemp exclaim:
“It’s not because I’m good. It’s because I believe in Christ.” “You haven’t done so much that you can’t be forgiven,” the judge told her. “You did something bad in one moment in time. What you do now matters.”