A man and a woman who as police officers in Texas killed innocent Black people within seconds of seeing them were spending their first of what is expected to be many Christmases behind bars on Wednesday. Amber Guyger was in only the second full month of her 10-year prison sentence for killing Botham Jean, 26, in his own home in Dallas last year and Aaron Dean has been in jail since shortly after he shot Atatiana Jefferson, 28, in her own home in Fort Worth.
The Christmas holiday came as the mothers of Jean and Jefferson recently broke their collective silence in the weeks after their children’s killers were sentenced to prison and arrested for murder, respectively. Each had her own Christmas message to share.
Allison Jean, who has made no secret about how much she relied on her faith to inform her decisions and thought processes after her son was inexplicably gunned down in his own apartment, told the Dallas Morning News that she was looking to move on in a positive way.
“I have no hatred toward Amber Guyger,” Allison Jean said in an interview that was published on Monday. “It’s time to focus on me and heal in the best way I know how.”
Guyger maintained throughout her trial that she confused Botham Jean’s apartment for her own and purportedly thought he was a burglar in her home before she shot him on Sept. 6, 2018. Jefferson was killed on Oct. 12 of this year when Dean, responding to a wellness check from a neighbor, shot the young woman dead in front of her young nephew. Dean never even identified himself, bodycam footage confirmed.
Allison Jean, who had previously referred to Guyger as “the devil” and her “son’s murderer,” also said that Jefferson’s killing helped her to “understand even better” her son’s murder.
Jefferson’s mother, however, was still in the early stages of digesting the grief of losing a child, similar to Allison Jean at this point last year. Yolanda Carr said she was still having trouble processing the fact that Atatiana would not be home for the holidays this year.
“We’re going to miss her this Christmas,” Carr said from a hospital in a video shared on Sunday by family attorney S. Lee Merritt. “I’m so glad that they finally indicted that man on murder ’cause he murdered my baby. She didn’t do anything wrong.”
There is another person who will not be home for the holidays this year — Jefferson’s father, Marquis Jefferson, who died weeks after his daughter’s death. His cause of death has been officially listed as a heart attack, but people speculated that because of the timing he probably died from a broken heart, an apparent byproduct of the infectious trauma that comes from police violence.
In October, the Botham Jean Foundation pledged to make a donation to the Jefferson family.
“Losing a family member is hard in any circumstance,” Botham’s sister Allisa Findley said in a statement at the time. “Having a loved one taken in this horrific manner is one far more traumatic and a pain no family should have to bear. Unfortunately, too many families have had to suffer at the hands of those paid to serve and protect us.”
Jefferson’s killer Dean, who was allowed to resign from the Fort Worth Police Department without having been interviewed by law enforcement, was finally indicted by a grand jury for murder last Friday.