Allison Jean’s life was shattered when her son Botham Jean was murdered in his own apartment by a Dallas cop named Amber Guyger in 2018. And even though her overachieving son is no longer alive, Allison Jean is here to ensure that his memory and his legacy remain alive in our hearts.
That’s why Allison Jean decided to be a central figure in a two-hour documentary, The Ballad of Botham Jean, that will air on the Investigative Discovery channel beginning on Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020, from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Botham Jean was part of an inexplicable and harrowing string of deaths of unarmed Black men and women by White police officers (and quasi cops) that includes Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Rayshard Brooks and George Floyd.
“Maybe about six months down the road (after her son’s murder), we started hearing other names of Black men and women killed at the hands of police. And with the long list of names, often Botham’s name was missing,” Allison Jean told rolling out from her home on in St. Lucia, an independent island nation off the coast of Florida in the Caribbean Sea.
“So I realized so many murders of Black men, Black and Brown men and women, their names that are going to be dropping off, and I didn’t want my son’s name to drop off. So, that was what propelled me to accept the invitation to do the documentary on him.”
The documentary will, in part, trace Botham Jean’s life from his Caribbean roots as a gifted student to his sojourn to Dallas. His life was on an upward trajectory as a Harding University alumnus and accountant at PricewaterhouseCoopers when he was killed by Guyger in his home at the tender age of 26.
While many recoiled in horror and disgust at the 10-year sentence Guyger received after her conviction for murder, Allison Jean felt contentment.
“Honestly, when … it was read, I had no emotion because I was really looking forward to a murder conviction, which I got,” she said. “So, for me, the time didn’t matter. I just wanted to make sure that it was called a murder.”
With the word “murder” forever attached to Guyger like a tattoo, Allison Jean was able to begin the long road to emotional healing.
Two years after her son’s passing, Allison Guyger is steadily fighting two legal wars: one, she is suing the Dallas Police Department and the city of Dallas, which a judge ruled is not responsible for her son’s death; and, two, she is speaking out against the fact that Guyger is now appealing her murder conviction.
Mostly, however, she wants her son’s legacy to never be forgotten. Botham Jean had aspirations of one day returning to St. Lucia and perhaps running for prime minister of the island country.
“He always kept saying, ‘Mommy, I want to make the nation a better place,’ ” she said of her son’s life purpose. “I want to contribute to the development of my country.”