By Mark Ellis —
In addition to the remarkable offer of forgiveness and hug between the murder victim’s brother and the female officer on trial for murder, the judge also shocked the courtroom with a highly unusual gesture.
Judge Tammy Kemp wiped away tears from her eyes, along with most of the courtroom, as she watched Botham Jean, the victim’s brother, hug Amber Guyger.
The judge stepped off the bench to console the Jean family, then walked over to Guyger, still sitting at the defense table. She bent down and spoke in the young woman’s ear. “You understand?” the judge said. Her words were barely audible to news reporter Jason Trahan, with WFAA-TV in Dallas, sitting nearby.
The judge seemed overcome with emotion and exited the courtroom for a brief moment. Then she returned with a Bible in hand.
“You can have mine,” the judge said to Guyger. “I have three or four at home,” according to WFAA.
She then began to offer advice to Guyger and the two conversed quietly. “This is your job,” the judge said, opening the Bible.
Judge Kemp exhorted Guyger to read John 3:16, saying this would strengthen her faith.
With the powerful demonstration of forgiveness, and the introduction of God’s Word, the Kingdom of Heaven had suddenly shifted the atmosphere of the courtroom.
Guyger nodded her head.
“You just need a tiny mustard seed of faith,” the judge said. “You start with this.”
Guyger reached out to embrace the judge and the robed magistrate hugged her back.
Then Guyger whispered something to the judge that was inaudible.
“Ma’am,” the judge said warmly. “It’s not because I’m good. It’s because I believe in Christ.”
“You haven’t done so much that you can’t be forgiven,” the judge told her. “You did something bad in one moment in time. What you do now matters.”
The judge instructed Guyger that she could carry her new Bible with her as deputies led her away to the prisoner-holding cell connected to the courtroom.
“As Guyger left to begin her 10-year prison sentence, the judge let out a deep sigh, turned and left the courtroom,” according to WFAA.
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