Botham Jean’s neighbor, key witness in Amber Guyger murder trial, shot to death in Dallas

Isheka N. Harrison
Written by Isheka N. Harrison

$100,000 reward being offered to help find the killer

In this Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019, photo, victim Botham Jean’s neighbor Joshua Brown, left, answers questions from Assistant District Attorney LaQuita Long, right, while pointing to a map of the South Side Flats where he lives, while testifying during the murder trial of former Dallas Police Officer Amber Guyger, in Dallas. Authorities say that Brown was killed in a shooting Friday, Oct. 4. (Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News via AP, Pool)

Another Black man is dead. This time it is Joshua Brown, Botham Jean’s neighbor who showed true courage and served as a key witness in Amber Guyger’s murder trial. Brown, 28, got emotional while testifying about hearing Jean singing gospel and Drake songs before Guyger took his life. Now his family has to plan his funeral.

Originally from Jacksonville Florida, Brown was shot to death the evening of Friday, Oct. 4, just two days after Guyger’s trial ended. He was taken to Parkland Memorial Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries, reported The Dallas Morning News.

Brown testified that he heard what sounded like a surprise meeting between two people when approaching his apartment at the South Side Flats before he heard two gunshots the night of the fatal encounter.

When asked by prosecutors whether he heard Guyger giving any loud police demands – which was a prominent part of her defense – Brown said he did not. He also said once inside his home, he looked through his peephole and saw Gugyger walking back and forth talking on the phone.

“She was crying … Explaining what happened, what she thought happened. Saying she came into the wrong apartment,” Brown said.

His testimony is said to have been critical in convicting Guyger. He was also set to testify in the civil case the Jean family has brought against the City of Dallas for Botham’s murder.

Listen to GHOGH with Jamarlin Martin | Episode 67: Jamarlin Martin

Jamarlin goes solo to discuss the NFL’s entertainment and “social justice” deal with Jay-Z. We look back at the Barclays gentrification issue in the documentary “A Genius Leaves The Hood: The Unauthorized Story of Jay-Z.”

Brown was a former University of South Florida college football player turned entrepreneur who was well liked by those who knew him, reported the Tampa Bay Times.

“He was a passionate individual,” former USF offensive lineman Kofi Amichia told the Times in a text message. “A guy that always spoke his mind no matter what, and one of the funniest guys at USF. Could make anybody laugh.”

Witnesses said they heard several gunshots and saw a silver sedan speeding away from the scene where Brown was killed, reported The Washington Post.

Civil rights lawyer Lee Merritt, the attorney for the Jean family, is now representing Brown’s family as well. He called Brown’s murder an “execution” that was “suspicious” given the circumstances of the case.

“To have a key witness, suddenly be killed is suspicious. Was this related to the trial? There is no clear indication,” Merritt said. “Josh Brown expressed concerns about the exposure that he would get from this trial and he expressed concerns about his safety … if he had concerns for his safety, then the city, the county had an obligation to ensure that those concerns were met.”

Despite his concerns for his own safety, Brown came forward to help the Jean family seek justice. Dallas County prosecutor Jason Hermus spoke highly of his character.

“He bravely came forward to testify when others wouldn’t. If we had more people like him, we would have a better world,” Hermus said.

The murder has caused widespread speculation, with some pointing the finger at Dallas police, who Jean’s mother called corrupt. The Dallas Police Department, however, said they do not tolerate violence like this in their city and are searching for suspects and a motive, but have no leads yet.

Activist Shaun King and businessman Bill Perkins have also joined the fight to bring Brown’s killer to justice. Perkins is offering a $100,000 reward for information that helps catch the suspect(s).

According to his testimony, Brown ran a business serving as a property manager for several AirBNB locations across the country.