Forgiving a Killer: Tearful Courtroom

An amazing thing occurred at the sentencing for former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger yesterday: the brother of the man she shot forgave her. Ms. Guyger was convicted of murder after she shot and killed Botham Jean in his apartment, mistakenly thinking he was an intruder in her apartment. During the sentencing hearing, the victim’s brother Brandt Jean, age 18, said to her from the witness stand, “If you are truly sorry, I know I can speak for myself, I forgive you.”

In his victim-impact statement, Mr. Jean said that he wished that Ms. Guyger didn’t have to serve any time at all. Instead, he wanted for Guyger what his older brother would have wanted: “I think giving your life to Christ would be the best thing that Botham would want for you. I love you as a person and don’t wish anything bad on you.”

Then he asked if he could give Guyger a hug. As soon as the judge gave permission, the two embraced for a long time.

But there was more. After the jury exited, Judge Tammy Kemp walked over to the defense table, and handed Guyger a Bible, encouraging her to read it. Guyger impulsively reached out to hug the judge, and the judge reciprocated. The judge could be heard telling her, “It’s not because I’m good. It’s because I believe in Christ. None of us are worthy.”

God is still present in our courtrooms.


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