Bertrum Jean, the father of Botham Jean, said on Thursday he wished his son’s killer had received a stiffer sentence. But he also said he agreed with his surviving son Brandt, who amid extraordinary scenes in court in Dallas on Wednesday offered forgiveness to former police officer Amber Guyger.
“I felt the same way as Brandt,” Bertrum Jean told CNN. “I wish I could’ve extended that same courtesy … I don’t want to see her rot in hell. I don’t want to see her rot in prison.”
Guyger shot Botham Jean dead last September, after entering his apartment thinking, she said, it was hers on a lower floor and he was a dangerous intruder. The 26-year-old accountant was sitting on his couch, eating ice cream.
Guyger, 31, was fired by Dallas police. Convicted of murder, she received a 10-year sentence. The maximum sentence available was 99 years. Prosecutors had asked for 28 years, based on the age Jean would have attained had he been alive today.
At the sentencing hearing on Wednesday, Brandt Jean, 18, told Guyger: “I forgive you … I don’t even want you to go to jail. I want the best for you. Because I know that’s exactly Botham would want you to do.”
He then asked permission to embrace Guyger, and did so. Film of the moment went viral. The judge in the case, Tammy Kemp, embraced Guyger and also gave her a Bible.
Asked on CNN what allowed him and his son to be so forgiving, Bertrum Jean said: “That’s what Christ would want us to do. If you will not forgive, neither will your Father forgive you.
“I don’t want to see her rot in hell. I don’t want to see her rot in prison. I hope this will help her to change and recognize the damage, the hurt that our family’s going through.
“So I wish her well and I will pray for her family and pray for her as well.”
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SOURCE: The Guardian, Martin Pengelly