Joshua Brown, the across-the-hall neighbor and key witness in the murder of Botham Jean by a Dallas, Texas police officer, was himself murdered on Friday night, October 4, 2019.
Former officer Amber Guyger fatally shot Jean last year when she mistakenly entered his apartment thinking that it was her own. She was convicted of murder last week and sentenced the next day by the same jury that convicted her. They gave her ten years in prison with the possibility of parole in five.
According to Attorney Lee Merritt, one of the attorneys for the Botham family, and who spoke with Brown’s mother, Brown was shot to death in the very same parking lot of the very same apartment complex where Botham was killed. Brown’s mother confirmed her son’s death to Merritt.
According to CNN, on Friday night at about 10:30 p.m., Dallas police were flagged down by witnesses who directed them to Brown. The police found Brown lying on the ground in the parking lot suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. He was taken to Parkland Memorial Hospital and there pronounced dead, according to Dallas police.
Witnesses reported hearing several gunshots and saw a silver four-door sedan “burn rubber” as it sped out of the parking lot, police said.
Because Brown had no identification on him, it was the coroner at the hospital who made a positive ID and then notified his family.
No suspect(s) or further information regarding Brown’s assailant(s) is available, again, according to the police.
Attorney Merritt, who worked closely with Brown in preparation for his testimony, said that Brown was in constant fear of gun violence. This, said Merritt, was one of the reasons for his emotional breakdowns on the witness stand during the trial. “He said it could have been him,” Merritt said.
As stated, Amber Guyger, 31, was found guilty of murder and sentenced just last week, but she becomes eligible for parole in only five years. Her claim that she mistakenly walked into the wrong apartment and began shooting immediately because she thought Jean was an intruder was apparently not accepted by the jury, which convicted her of what amounts to first-degree murder.
Joshua Brown On The Witness Stand
Brown told the jury and the court that he met Jean for the first time on the day he was killed. However, in the recent past, he had heard Jean playing Gospel music and singing Gospel songs in his apartment. Indeed, Brown was just down the hall approaching his apartment when he heard voices of two people who sounded like they were meeting by “surprise.” Gunshots followed “right after,” he said.
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He hurried on into his apartment, and from his balcony, Brown said he saw Officer Guyger come out to the hallway from Jean’s apartment. She was on the phone. She was “crying, explaining to someone what had just happened.” He heard her say that she “entered the wrong apartment,” he said.
Looking through his peep hole, Brown said he also saw Guyger “going back, back and forth [still] on the phone. And then, I think she went back inside, then came back out,” said Brown.
Brown repeatedly broke down on the witness stand and and wiped away tears with his T-shirt. Throughout his testimony, from beginning to end, Botham Jean’s family members could be heard crying, sniffling, weeping softly in the courtroom.
Attorney Lee Merritt also wrote this on his FaceBook page:
[Joshua Brown’s] murder underscores the reality of the black experience in America. A former athlete turned entrepreneur — Brown lived in constant fear that he could be the next victim of gun violence, either state sanctioned or otherwise. We have more work to do deal with the constant threats to our community both from within and without. Brown deserves the same justice he sought to ensure the Jean family. The Dallas County criminal justice system must mobilized to identify his killer and see that he is held accountable for this murder.
“The reality of the Black experience in America…”
At this writing, it is unknown who killed Joshua Brown.
But, if you are black in America, you will assume, as do I, that it was not another black person.
If you are black in America, you will view this latest killing as a “hit” against a black man who dared testify against the police.
If you are black in America, you will suspect that this hit was perpetrated by one or some of Texas’ “good ole boys,” who do not believe that black people should be allowed to testify at all against any self-respecting white person, let alone a petite, blond and blue-eyed police officer.
If you are black in America, you can easily understand that Joshua Brown’s murderer(s) might just be from within the ranks of the Dallas Police Department itself. Recall that that department and its union did everything they could to shield Guyger from even being charged with any type of crime at all.
If you are black in America, you probably see Guyger’s ten-year sentence (parole in five) as “business as usual” when white cops kill unarmed black people.
And, finally, if you are black in America, you understand exactly, precisely, intuitively what young Joshua Brown meant as he described Botham Jean’s killing to Attorney Merritt when he said, “It could have been me.”