ATLANTA - A Texas judge is setting the record straight after video from a police murder trial went viral.
It showed Texas Judge Tammy Kemp hugging the convicted killer, Amber Guyger. Later, Kemp gave her a Bible.
Kemp was a guest on the "Tamron Hall Show" on Thursday, where she opened up about what happened in her courtroom.
"I don't think Shakespeare could have fashioned a more tragic story," Kemp said.
A jury sentenced Guyger to 10 years in prison for killing an unarmed man, Botham Jean, after she entered the wrong apartment.
During the sentencing phase, Jean's brother, Brandt Jean, made an unusual request.
"I don't know if it's possible, but can I give her a hug, please? Please?” Brandt Jean asked Kemp, who agreed to let him hug Guyger.
"It was just running through my mind: ‘Oh God, I can't do this. I can't do this. It's against the rules.’ But when he said please a second time, I just had to give in," Kemp said.
On the "Tamron Hall Show," Kemp opened up about her own exchange with Guyger after the trial.
"I didn't realize that we were still being filmed," Kemp said.
The judge said she spoke to Botham Jean's family as she normally does at the end of a trial. After hugging them, she turned to leave and saw Guyger.
"I said: ‘Mr. Jean has forgiven you. Please forgive yourself so that you can live a purposeful life,’" Kemp said. "Ms. Guyger asked if I would hug her. I don't think any human being would refuse her at that moment."
Kemp said at this point, the trial was over, and although she was still in her robe, she was just a person responding to someone in need.
"Then she said: ‘I don't even have a Bible. I don't own a Bible. I don't know where to even begin.’
And in that moment, I didn't want to lose Amber Guyger. So I said: ‘Hold on. I'll get you a Bible.’"
Kemp said she's avoided social media but her family has seen the criticism.
"My faith is strong. If God brings me to it, he'll bring me through it,” Kemp said.
An atheist group has filed a complaint saying it was unethical for Kemp to give Guyger a Bible.
Don't forget you can watch the "Tamron Hall Show" weekdays at 3 p.m. on WSB-TV followed by Channel 2 Action News at 4.
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