Trial for former officer who killed Atatiana Jefferson now underway

Jury selection began Monday in the murder trial of Aaron Dean, the now-former Fort Worth cop who shot Atatiana Jefferson in her home.

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On Monday, jury selection began in the murder trial of Aaron Dean, the now-former police officer who allegedly shot Atatiana Jefferson to death three years ago.

According to ABC News, there were worries about another setback in the trial after Jim Lane, Dean’s lead counsel, died Sunday morning. Two other attorneys assumed the lead counsel role in May amid his illness.

Jefferson, a 28-year-old Black woman, was fatally shot inside her Fort Worth, Texas, home on Oct. 12, 2019.

Aaron Dean, a former Fort Worth, Texas, police officer, is being tried in the October 2019 shooting death of Atatiana Jefferson, who was inside her home. Jury selection in the murder trial began Monday. (Photo: Tarrant County Jail via AP, File)

Jefferson’s mother, Yolanda Carr, passed away in January 2020 from a medical condition a few months later, theGrio previously reported.

WFAA-TV Channel 8 reported that James Smith, a witness in the trial, called Fort Worth police before 2:30 a.m. that fateful fall morning, requesting that authorities check on Jefferson after he saw an open door at her home.

According to ABC, two officers allegedly arrived soon after and parked close to Jefferson’s home, but not in front of it.

Police body camera footage shows that her front door appears to be open, but a screen door looks closed. The officer doesn’t seem to knock.

Fort Worth Police Lt. Brandon O’Neil admitted that Jefferson’s assailant never identified himself as a member of law enforcement.

The officer walks up to a rear window of the house with his gun drawn, as shown in body camera footage the police department has made public. He fires one shot after yelling, “Put your hands up; show me your hands” and seeing an armed Jefferson through a window.

The footage confirms the officer never identified himself as such.

Police officials said Jefferson was well within her rights to protect herself and her 8-year-old nephew — who witnessed the shooting — when she heard noises in her backyard and went to see what was going on.

According to an arrest warrant issued for Dean, Jefferson’s nephew told authorities his aunt retrieved a handgun and pointed it toward a window before she was shot dead. The relatives had been playing video games just before the incident.

WFAA-TV reported that there are 200 potential jurors in the case, with 109 saying they have heard about it. By Friday, officials intend to have 12 jurors and two alternates selected.

Opening statements and testimony are set to start Monday.

Smith appeared before presiding Judge George Gallagher on Tuesday after protesting outside the courthouse, holding a “Justice for Atatiana Jefferson” sign. Gallagher issued a gag order prohibiting all witnesses and attorneys from speaking publicly about the case.

Smith must stop protesting to avoid being in contempt of court.

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