FORT WORTH, Texas — The murder trial of the former Fort Worth police officer charged in the shooting death of Atatiana Jefferson in 2019 is set to start Nov. 16, according to Tarrant County court records.
Aaron Dean, 36, is accused of shooting Jefferson to death on Oct. 12, 2019. Jefferson died as she was babysitting her 8-year-old nephew at her mother’s house in Fort Worth.
A neighbor telephoned the police because he was worried after seeing open doors at the house, and Dean and another officer responded to the call. Jefferson, who was 28 and Black, heard noise outside and thought a prowler was in the yard. She held a gun and looked through a bedroom window as Dean fired once from outside, killing her, according to an account from the nephew that is described in an arrest warrant affidavit for the former officer.
Last week, Jefferson’s family filed a lawsuit in federal court against Dean and the city of Fort Worth, citing the emotional trauma Jefferson’s nephew endured when she was killed in front of him.
“At the age of 8,” the lawsuit says, Zion Carr “was forced to watch the murder of his aunt, Atatiana Jefferson, at the hands of Fort Worth Police.”
Prosecutors have previously indicated they do not intend to offer Dean a plea bargain. If convicted of murder, Dean could face up to life in prison.
Fort Worth City Council member Chris Nettles, an outspoken advocate calling for Dean to be tried for murder in Jefferson’s death, said the community has been waiting for this day. He said he and other community members have marched, protested and demanded justice in the case.
“I truly believe that the persistence of community activists across Fort Worth helped bring this day to fruition,” Nettles told the Star-Telegram on Monday. “It’s time that Aaron Dean be held accountable for his actions through due process — a right that he stole from Atatiana Jefferson.”
(Star-Telegram staff writer Harrison Mantas contributed to this report.)©2021 Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Visit at star-telegram.com Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.