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Amber Guyger verdict: The difference between murder and manslaughter

The murder indictment says Guyger intentionally shot Jean, causing his death. A manslaughter charge would mean Guyger acted recklessly.

The jury convicted former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger of murder on Tuesday.

Guyger, 31, was off duty but still in uniform when she said she mistakenly went into Botham Jean's apartment on Sept. 6, 2018 and fatally shot him. 

The former officer was initially taken into custody on a manslaughter charge but later indicted on a murder charge. 

The murder indictment said Guyger intentionally shot Jean, causing his death.  

A manslaughter charge meant Guyger acted recklessly. 

Murder carries a sentence of up to life in prison. Manslaughter, which is a second-degree felony, carries a sentencing range of two to 20 years. 

RELATED: Jury finds Amber Guyger guilty of murder in shooting death of Botham Jean

Guyger wasn't charged with capital murder. In Texas, there's a distinction between capital murder and murder.

During the trial, Guyger claimed self-defense because she said she thought the "silhouetted figure" she saw inside the unit was an intruder and moving toward her. 

Her defense pointed out that an investigation discovered that there was a defect with the door and there were several other instances reported in which residents at the South Side Flats entered the wrong unit. 

But prosecutors argued Guyger missed a number of visual cues when she mistook Jean's apartment, located one floor above her third-floor unit, as her own. One of those clues, they said, was Jean's red doormat.

RELATED: Innocent mistake or murder? Amber Guyger's fate now in the hands of the jury

During the trial, prosecutors also asked Guyger when she aimed her gun at the "figure" if she intended to kill. 

"He [Jean] was the threat, yes, sir," she replied.

Full coverage: The trial of Amber Guyger

The definition of murder: 

"A person commits the offense of murder if the person 1) intentionally or knowingly causes the death of an individual or 2) intends to cause serious bodily injury and commits and act clearly dangerous to human life that causes the death of an individual."

The definition of manslaughter:

"Our law provides a person commits the offense of manslaughter if she recklessly causes the death of an individual. A person acts recklessly or is reckless with respect to the result of her conduct when she is aware of but consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the result will occur. The risk must be of such a nature and degree that its disregard constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of care that an ordinary person would exercise under all the circumstances as viewed from the actor’s standpoint."

More coverage on WFAA.com: 

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