College friend says Jean was natural leader

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DALLAS (AP) — The Latest on the trial of a former Dallas police officer convicted of murder in the shooting death of her neighbor inside his apartment (all times local):

10:25 a.m.

A college classmate has told jurors about her friendship with Botham Jean, an accountant who was killed last year in his home by a Dallas police officer who lived in his building.

Alexis Stossel said Wednesday that she met Jean when they attended Harding University in Arkansas. She says she and Jean quickly became close friends, and they both moved to Dallas after graduating.

Stossel says Jean was the emcee at her wedding and was a natural leader whom people gravitated toward.

Stossel, who is white, also touched on Jean’s sense of humor, saying Jean always insisted that she refer to him as “my black friend Botham” when posting photos on social media.

Stossel’s testimony comes as jurors consider the sentence for Amber Guyger, who was convicted of murder Tuesday for killing Jean. Guyger, who was fired after the shooting, says she mistook his apartment for her own one floor below.

WATCH: Amber Guyger faces sentencing for murder charges in the shooting death of her neighbor

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10:15 a.m.

The judge in the trial of a Dallas police officer convicted of murder for killing her black neighbor in his home says the jury will get instruction on a legal defense that could reduce the officer’s sentencing range.

The jury convicted Amber Guyger of murder Tuesday in the September 2018 killing of Botham Jean. In Texas, the penalty for murder could be anywhere from five years to life in prison.

But Judge Tammy Kemp said Wednesday that jurors will receive written guidance on the law regarding a so-called “sudden passion defense.”

If the jury accepts that Guyger’s actions were taken in the heat of the moment, it could reduce the sentencing range to two to 20 years.

Guyger says she shot Jean after mistaking his apartment for her own, which was directly below. She was fired after the shooting.

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9:35 a.m.

Court has resumed in the punishment phase of the trial of a white Dallas police officer who was convicted in the fatal shooting of her black neighbor last year.

Judge Tammy Kemp began the Wednesday’s proceedings by allowing Amber Guyger to attend the hearing without shackles on her ankles. Guyger was booked into jail after Tuesday’s proceedings concluded.

The punishment phase began Tuesday after jurors convicted Guyger of murder in the killing of her neighbor, Botham Jean. The slain accountant’s family members and friends spoke of how his death affected them.

Guyger, who could be sentenced to anywhere from five years to life in prison, says she mistook Jean’s apartment for her own, which was directly below his. Her attorneys can argue that she deserves a light sentence because she acted out of confusion and fear that she had found an intruder.

Guyger was fired after the shooting.

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12:25 a.m.

The same jury that convicted a white Dallas police officer in the fatal shooting of her black neighbor will soon return to court to consider her sentence — a penalty that could be anywhere from five years to life in prison.

Amber Guyger said she mistook the man’s apartment for her own. She was convicted of murder Tuesday. Her defense attorneys can argue that she deserves a light sentence because she acted out of confusion and fear that she had found an intruder.

Prosecutors have given no indication what sentence they will seek.

It was unclear how long the punishment phase of the trial would last. Testimony began shortly after the verdict, starting with friends and family of the victim, Botham Jean.

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