Who is Aaron Dean? White Texas cop, 38, who shot dead Black woman at her home to go on trial after long delay
FORT WORTH, TEXAS: In a case that has been delayed for years, a White former police officer is scheduled to go on trial on December 5, 2022, for fatally shooting a Black woman through the back window of her Texas home while responding to a complaint about an open front door. After shooting Atatiana Jefferson, 28, in October 2019, Fort Worth officer Aaron Dean resigned and was then charged with murder.
Jefferson and her then-8-year-old nephew were playing video games together when something unusual happened behind the home, according to the nephew who later told detectives his aunt drew a gun. Dean didn't identify himself as a police officer, according to his body camera footage. The arrest of Dean and the relative speed with which the Fort Worth Police Department made the body-camera video public amid widespread outcry at the time made the case unusual at the time. Since then, the case has been continually delayed due to legal disputes, his lead attorney's terminal sickness, and the COVID-19 pandemic. Dean, 38, was released on a $200,000 bond after entering a not-guilty plea. He is accused of killing Jefferson on October 12, 2019, after a neighbor reported that Jefferson's front door was open to a non-emergency police line, as reported by Local 10.
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Dean was seen on bodycam footage walking up to the entrance of the house where Jefferson was watching over her nephew. After yelling at Jefferson, who was inside, to expose her hands, he turned around to face the other side of the house, pushed through a gate into the walled-off backyard, and fired through the glass. It's unclear whether Dean knew Jefferson was armed because he was not heard on the video presenting himself as a police officer. The answer to that query and any potential testimony from a different officer who was present that evening are likely to be crucial issues at trial.
Months before the incident, Jefferson moved into her mother's house to help as the elderly woman's health deteriorated while she was thinking about a career in medicine. In vain attempts to have the case transferred from Fort Worth, Dean's legal team utilized such remarks, saying that public declarations and media coverage would sway the jury.
Last week, Jim Lane, the defense counsel for Dean, died just before jury selection was about to begin. District Judge George Gallagher finally moved ahead after years of delays and after days of questioning prospective jurors, a panel of 12 jurors and two alternates were chosen on December 2, 2022, out of which, eight were men and six were women. It didn't seem like any of them were Black.