A former Dallas officer who says she fatally shot an unarmed black man in her own home after mistaking her apartment for her own has made a number of "unjustified mistakes" and is more concerned about how the incident will affect. about her than about the person she shot, the prosecutor said, opening statements about the trial over her murder on Monday.
A white white Amber Geiger was on trial for the murder of 26-year-old Bottham Gin last year.
Geiger was returning to the Dallas apartment complex, where she lived in an apartment on the other floor from Jean's after working a 13-and-a-half hour shift on Sept. 6, 2018, the prosecutor said. Geiger was out of service, but still in uniform when the shooting happened. She told investigators that she parked on the fourth floor of her apartment complex's garage – not the third floor where she lived – and found the apartment door covered.
Jean, an accountant for the St. Lucia Karyan people, "did no harm to anyone that was his way," said Dallas County Assistant District Attorney Jason Hermus in his opening statement. He noted that Jean was eating a bowl of vanilla ice cream in his living room when Geiger went into an apartment that was one floor just above her apartment.
Hermus said that Geiger called 911 after firing at Jean, but seemed to be more worried about himself on the call than about a mortally wounded man. On the call, Giger may hear that she shot the man because she thought he was in her apartment, and repeatedly said she was going to lose her job.
"She is just as concerned or more concerned with how she is concerned than this poor guy on the floor next to her," Hermus said.
The case involves intense national control over its strange circumstances and as one of the chains of shootings of black white police officers.
Geiger's attorneys claim that she was released from self-defense based on the mistaken belief that she was in her own apartment and that Jean was a robber.
But speaking Monday, Hermus said Giger missed the obvious sign that the apartment was not hers. Holding the red mat Jean kept at his door, he said Geiger had no mat in front of her apartment. He also said that Geiger kept a large table in his house that would be immediately visible from the front door, which Jean did not have.
"She is unable to acknowledge all these things of which she knows and which have failed [Jean] his life," said Hermus.
Defense counsel argued that Geiger made a mistake, which he called horrific and tragic, but innocent. Robert Rogers said the apartment complex was "confusing" and that it was unusual for residents to try to enter someone else's premises. He said that after a long shift at work, Geiger was exhausted and "autopilot", and did not notice that the apartment was not there until she opened fire, fearing for her life because Jean was coming to her.
"It starts at dawn on her as she approaches Mr Jean's body, which is a terrible, horrible mistake she just made," Rogers said.
Rogers said that Geiger immediately called EMS and only left the apartment to show the responsible officers where she was. He said Geiger, who pleaded not guilty, took a stand in his defense.
On the day of the shooting, Geiger exchanged sexual messages with her Dallas police partner, Martin Rivera, with whom she had been involved. According to prosecutors, they had been romantically involved for about a year. During the pre-trial proceedings, prosecutors and attorneys defended whether these communications were to be adduced.
Geiger was talking to Rivera minutes before she fatally shot Gina and soon sent him a message, Hermus said. These texts were later deleted from Geiger's phone.
Speaking on Monday, Rivera stated that he had begun a romantic relationship with Geiger in 2017. He said that on the day of the Geiger shooting, nothing seemed. The couple spoke on the phone before the shooting about the burglary suspects they had arrested earlier that day, but Rivera couldn't remember what else they were talking about. He said their call lasted about 16 minutes.
Rivera admitted to removing from the phone the telephone messages he had exchanged with Geiger on the day of the shooting.
Three days after the shooting, Geiger was arrested for murder. She was later released from the Dallas Police Department and charged with grand jury.
The jury will decide whether he committed a 31-year-old homicide, a lesser crime, such as homicide or criminal mischief, or no crime at all.
The result may depend on the jury's finding that Geiger's error was reasonable, according to legal experts.