Texas District Judge Tammy Kemp was assigned Friday to preside over the murder trial of former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger, who shot and killed Botham Jean in his own apartment in September.
SEE ALSO: A Disturbing Timeline Of Dallas Police Officer Amber Guyger Killing Botham Jean In His Own Home
Kemp, 57, was a prosecutor for the Dallas County District Attorney’s office who also has experience as a criminal defense attorney. She’s a Democrat who was recently re-elected to a second term on the 204th Judicial District Court bench, where she began serving in 2015.
“As a prosecutor, I served under three unique District Attorneys, and each instilled values that have impacted me and made me into a better judge. As a defense attorney, I became aware of the challenges defendants and their attorneys face in preparing a defense. While serving as a judge, I have become keenly aware of the difficulties that victims, defendants, witnesses and jurors encounter when involved in the criminal justice system,” she told the Dallas Morning News during her 2018 re-election campaign.
A grand jury in Dallas indicted Guyger, 30, on Friday. The panel found enough evidence for a murder charge instead of the initial manslaughter charge.
On the night of Sept. 6, she illegally entered Jean’s apartment, which was located one floor above her own, and shot Jean, 26, to death — that much has been established as true. But everything else that transpired during that fatal encounter was not exactly clear, with only Guyger’s word to go on.
She claimed that following a long day on the job as a Dallas police officer, she implausibly mistook his apartment for her own and, after ordering Jean not to move, shot him twice. Her story was greeted by doubt because of several factors, especially her assertion that Jean’s door was ajar. Videos posted on social media by neighbors appeared to show that apartment doors in the building shut automatically, which seemed to indicate that Guyger was lying.
Kemp was a top prosecutor in the officer of Craig Watkins, who was Texas’ first elected African-American District Attorney. In 2013, she was the lead prosecutor in a case involving a man who drowned two sons in a creek to get back at their mother.
After Guyger was booked into Jail Friday afternoon but released on a $200,000 bond, Kemp ordered her to surrender her passport and not to travel outside Texas without court approval.
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