- Aaron Dean, charged with the murder of Atatiana Jefferson, has already been indicted by a grand jury.
- Dean’s ex-partner testified that Dean did not say Jefferson was holding a gun before shooting him.
- Jefferson’s 11-year-old nephew testified he first thought it was ‘a dream’ when Dean shot him.
The highly anticipated trial of a white former police officer in Forth Worth, Texas, who fatally shot a black woman in her home three years ago, gets right to the heart of the case: Did the officer seen a gun on her before shooting or not?
Aaron Dean is charged with murder in the fatal shooting of Atatiana Jefferson in front of her young nephew on October 12, 2019. Police say Dean shot Jefferson through the back window of his home after responding to a non-emergency morning call from ‘a neighbour. about an open front door. The shooting sparked outrage across the country.
Body camera footage of the shooting shows Dean entering Jefferson’s fenced yard. Dean then walked around the side of the house, pushed open a door into the backyard, and fired through a window pane seconds after yelling at Jefferson.
“Hands up, show me your hands,” Dean said, jerking off.
Prosecutors said Jefferson pulled out her own gun because she heard noises outside and saw a flashlight in her yard. Dean’s defense attorneys say officers treated the incident as a potential robbery in progress, which led them not to announce themselves.
The trial, which took three years to start and has been repeatedly postponed, will focus on whether Dean was justified in using his gun to shoot Jefferson and whether race may have played a role in the incident. . At the time, Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price called the incident “unwarranted” and declared it unacceptable.
Dean resigned from the police and was later arrested for murder and released on $200,000 bond.
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Officer’s former partner: Dean didn’t say Jefferson was holding a gun before pulling the trigger
On Tuesday, a Fort Worth police officer who was Dean’s ex-partner said Dean didn’t say Jefferson was holding a gun before pulling the trigger when they went to check on Jefferson’s house. Jefferson.
In uniform, Officer Carol Darch said on the second day of the trial that she and Dean thought Jefferson’s house may have been burglarized and went into the backyard with their guns drawn. and looking for signs of tampering.
During her four-hour testimony, in which she mentioned having memory problems from two strokes she suffered since the shooting, Darch told prosecutors she heard Dean scream as she scanned the phone. back of the yard.
Darch said Dean fired before she could fully turn around.
When asked what she saw when she turned around, Darch said she saw Dean and, over her right shoulder, what she later learned was Jefferson’s face. at the window, WFAA-TV reported.
“The only thing I could see was the eyes, really. I couldn’t tell if it was male or female,” Darch said. “I just saw someone at the window and I saw his eyes, big as saucers.”
Darch then told prosecutors that upon entering the home, she saw Jefferson’s then 8-year-old nephew, Zion Carr. Darch said she wrapped the child in a blanket and took him to the sidewalk.
She said that neither she nor Dean provided life-saving help to Jefferson, adding that her main concern was Jefferson’s nephew.
“As soon as I walked through the door, I heard the baby and that became my only focus,” Darch said, recalling that other officers who arrived later helped Jefferson.
Darch says she never saw Jefferson’s gun at the scene and never heard Dean report seeing a gun himself, WFAA reported. The station said Darch also testified that she often thought about Jefferson’s nephew and his well-being before bursting into tears.
Victim’s nephew speaks on day one of murder trial
After an ill-fated attempt by Dean’s lawyers to have the trial dismissed, Zion Carr, Jefferson’s now 11-year-old nephew, testified on Monday.
On the stand, Zion said he and Jefferson played video games and made hamburgers which they eventually burned. They left the screen door open to let the smoke out, Zion and prosecutors said, according to ABC News.
Zion said his aunt heard a noise, asked him about it, and then went to get a handgun from her purse. Zion said he saw his aunt walking towards the window and later testified that he didn’t hear or see anything outside the window, but he saw his aunt fall to the floor and get on. to cry.
“I was thinking, ‘Is this a dream?'” the nephew testified. “She was crying and shaking.”
Zion said he was confused by what happened and later learned that his aunt had been killed after the police entered.
“I was very upset,” Zion said, according to CNN.
Jefferson believed the officers on his property were trespassers, Tarrant County District Attorney Ashlea Deener said during opening arguments Monday. Dean opened fire without giving Jefferson time to comply with orders and never said he saw a gun, Deener told the court.
“The evidence will come to support, he didn’t see the gun in his hands,” Deener said, the Associated Press reported.
Meanwhile, Dean’s defense attorney, Miles Brissette, argued Monday that officers were following protocol in treating the call as a potential burglary.
Brissette said Dean and Darch saw a living room that looked like it had been ‘trashed’ and circled the house looking for signs of a break-in. Darch testified Tuesday that she and Dean thought it looked like someone had been “walking through the house, looking for something” the night of the shooting, WFAA-TV reported.
“It looked like the house had been broken into from the living room/kitchen,” Darch said. “Looks like someone methodically scoured this house looking for something.”
During his opening argument on Monday, Brissette told the court that evidence would show the officer’s actions were reasonable and that the shooting was “a tragic accident,” the Associated Press reported.