At the end of the trial, after the jury had been dismissed, Judge Kemp came down from the bench to offer her condolences to Mr. Jean’s parents, as is her habit when a family has lost a loved one. “I told them that they raised a remarkable son in Botham,” she said.
Next, she said, she stopped by the defense table to offer a word of encouragement to Ms. Guyger. “I said to her, ‘Ms. Guyger, Brandt Jean has forgiven you,’” Judge Kemp recalled, referring to Botham Jean’s brother. “‘Now please forgive yourself so that you can live a productive life when you get out of prison.’”
What followed, she said, was an exchange whose equivalent she could not remember in her decades as a lawyer and her nearly five years on the bench.
“She asked me if I thought her life could have purpose,” Judge Kemp recalled. “I said, ‘I know that it can.’ She said, ‘I don’t know where to start, I don’t have a Bible.’” Judge Kemp said she thought of the Bible in her chambers. “I said, ‘Well, hold on, I’ll get you a Bible.’”
She came back out and, together, they read John 3:16, a passage about redemption.
That is when Ms. Guyger did something that caught the judge off guard: She asked for a hug.
I spoke to Judge Tammy Kemp, who explained what was going through her mind when she gave Amber Guyger a Bible and a hug.
“God says my job is to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly,” she told me. “So how can you refuse this woman a hug?”https://t.co/c4gQGYjmIk
— Sarah Mervosh (@smervosh) October 7, 2019