Convicted murderer Amber Guyger in same prison as killer of Grammy-winning singer Selena

The former Dallas cop was sentenced to 10 years in prison last week.

October 7, 2019, 8:45 PM

Former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger, convicted of murdering her neighbor Botham Jean in an apartment mix-up, has been sent to a prison housing Texas' female death row and where several high-profile inmates are locked up, including the woman who gunned down Grammy-winning singer Selena, officials said.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice released a new mugshot of Guyger on Monday that was taken at the Mountain View Unit, a maximum-security women's prison in Gatesville, Texas, about 130 miles southwest of Dallas, corrections officials said.

"I can tell you that the formal intake process and procedure is still continuing. She is at the Mountain View Unit and will likely be there for some time," Jeremy Desel, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, told ABC News on Monday afternoon.

Desel said he was barred by state privacy laws from saying anything else about Guyger.

PHOTO: Amber Guyger in a photo after arriving at the Mountain View Unit in Gatesville, Texas.
Amber Guyger in a photo after arriving at the Mountain View Unit in Gatesville, Texas.
Texas Department of Corrections

Speaking generally, he said the intake process for new inmates at the facility includes having their mugshot and fingerprints taken and going through a battery of tests to assess their medical and mental health and to make a determination about their education level.

He said the prison also keeps an internal list of high-profile inmates, prisoners who have garnered a lot of media attention.

"But it doesn't impact them in any way being on that list and it doesn't really impact us in any way," Desel said.

He said there are several prisoners in protective custody at the penitentiary, which houses about 650 women.

"If someone, hypothetically, were to be a former law enforcement officer ... then they're also asked if they feel that that somehow might jeopardize their safety," Desel said. "That's taken into account and we do have a custody level of protective safekeeping."

The prison is spread out over 97 acres of farm and cattle-grazing land and also houses the state's women's death row, which currently houses six prisoners.

Officials said other high-profile inmates at the facility include Yolanda Saldivar, who was convicted of the March 1995 murder of Selena Quintanilla-Perez, the so-called Queen of Tejano music, who was portrayed by Jennifer Lopez in the 1997 biopic "Selena."

Guyger, 31, was sentenced to 10 years in prison last week by a Dallas County jury that also convicted her of murder stemming from the fatal shooting of 26-year-old Jean in his apartment at the South Side Flats complex in Dallas.

Guyger had just gotten off-duty as a Dallas police officer when she killed Jean on Sept. 6, 2018, after mistaking his apartment for her own, which was one floor below. She testified at her trial that she thought Jean was an intruder intent on killing her.

During Guyger's sentencing hearing on Thursday, Jean's younger brother, Brandt Jean, 18, told Guyger that he forgave her and was granted permission by Judge Tammy Kemp, who presided over the trial, to give her a hug.

PHOTO: Former Dallas Police Officer Amber Guyger gives State District Judge Tammy Kemp a hug after the judge had given her a Bible and before Guyger left for jail, Oct. 2, 2019, in Dallas.
Former Dallas Police Officer Amber Guyger gives State District Judge Tammy Kemp a hug after the judge had given her a Bible and before Guyger left for jail, Oct. 2, 2019, in Dallas.
Tom Fox/AP

"I personally want the best for you," Brandt Jean told Guyger in the extraordinary act of mercy. "I wasn't going to say this in front of my family, I don't even want you to go to jail. I want the best for you because I know that's exactly what Botham would want for you. Give your life to Christ. I think giving your life to Christ is the best thing Botham would want for you."

Kemp also gave Guyger a hug and words of encouragement.

Kemp told The Associated Press on Monday that she felt her actions were appropriate since the trial had concluded. She said Guyger told her she did not know how to go about seeking God's forgiveness.

“She asked me if I thought that God could forgive her and I said, ‘Yes, God can forgive you and has,’” Kemp told the AP.

Kemp said she also gave Guyger one of her personal Bibles.

"I didn’t want her to go back to the jail and to sink into doubt and self-pity and become bitter,” Kemp said. “Because she still has a lot of life ahead of her following her sentence and I would hope that she could live it purposefully.”

She said she hugged Guyger after the newly convicted murderer asked her twice if she could embrace her.

“Following my own convictions, I could not refuse that woman a hug. I would not,” said Kemp, who is African American. “And I don’t understand the anger. And I guess I could say if you profess religious beliefs and you are going to follow them, I would hope that they not be situational and limited to one race only.”

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, a Wisconsin nonprofit intent on protecting the constitutional principals of the separation of church and state, filed a complaint against Kemp with the Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct, accusing the judge of proselytizing from the bench.

“I didn’t do that from the bench,” Kemp said. “I came down to extend my condolences to the Jean family and to encourage Ms. Guyger because she has a lot of life to live.”