Javier Ambler death trial: Jury reaches a verdict after closing arguments

A jury is deliberating whether two former Williamson County deputies are guilty of manslaughter for the 2019 in custody death of Javier Ambler.

James Johnson and Zachary Camden have been on trial for manslaughter for the last nine days. 

Before the jury began, they heard closing arguments from both sides. 

The state spent a majority of their time reviewing evidence and witness testimony they believe is sufficient enough to prove both former WilCo deputies, James Johnson and Zachary Camden, are guilty of manslaughter.

State attorney Dexter Gilford told the jury that finding the defendants not guilty would be adopting an untrue version of how Ambler died.

Gilford admitted he was frustrated during his opening statements. He said to the jury that there is no way a person could look at the body cam video from that day and say Ambler was not complying with the officers on scene.

"Javier Ambler died a surrendering man, a complying man, and a begging man and that they had all the power and authority to do something different and did not. How do you know he had congestive heart failure? I don't expect you to know that, but he told you," said Gilford.


The defense was up next with Ken Ervin taking the lead. He says his clients did their job and followed their training to get Ambler into custody.

Erving told the jury they did not know Ambler was going to die. Ambler did and at any point Ambler could have complied, and he could have gotten medical care. Because he did not, Ervin says that it was recklessness by Ambler and not Johnson or Camden.

"Mr. Ambler knew he could die. He was aware of the risk. He consciously disregarded the substantial and unjustifiable risk that he could die from this. He did that. The state proved recklessness, but it's Ambler’s recklessness. This is not fun. It's not fun to pile on Mr. Ambler, but he knew better. These men are on trial. They've been waiting five years for this. Mr Ambler knew and do I feel sorry for him as a human being? Yes, but do I also have to point this out? Yes," said Ervin.

If found guilty of manslaughter, the former WilCo deputies could face two to 20 years in prison. The jury could also find them guilty of a lesser charge.