Former officer Aaron Dean found guilty of manslaughter in the shooting death of Atatiana Jefferson

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Former officer Aaron Dean found guilty of manslaughter in the shooting death of Atatiana Jefferson

Dean, who resigned from the Fort Worth Police Department before his arrest, was indicted by a Texas grand jury in December 2019.

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Dec. 15, 2022, 12:38 PM -08

By Daniella Silva

A former Texas officer who shot and killed a Black woman through a window in her home in October 2019 was found guilty of manslaughter on Thursday. 

Aaron Dean, a white Fort Worth police officer, fatally shot Atatiana Jefferson, a 28-year-old Black woman who had been playing video games at home with her 8-year-old nephew before she was shot. Dean was responding to Jefferson’s home after a concerned neighbor called a nonemergency line around 2 a.m. to say he noticed an open front door.  

The jury, which could have found Dean guilty of murder, announced its verdict after deliberating for about 13 hours. He faces two to 20 years in prison for the manslaughter conviction. The jury will decide Dean’s sentence after hearing from prosecutors and Dean’s defense team during the punishment phase.

“Today’s verdict provides a measure of justice, though it does not change the fact that a tragedy occurred that should have never happened,” Fort Worth Mayor Mattie Parker said in a statement Thursday afternoon after the verdict was announced.

“This tragedy for me has always been about Atatiana Jefferson — about her life as a daughter, sister, and aunt, and her lasting legacy,” Parker said in the statement. “Many people in our community are hurting, and we must come together with compassion and grace. Our prayers are with the jury as they continue their service in the sentencing phase.”

Tarrant County prosecutor Ashlea Deener said Wednesday during closing arguments that Jefferson acted reasonably and within her rights to protect herself and her nephew, Zion Carr, when she heard noises outside her home in the middle of the night and got a hold of her gun, as she did not know that police officers were at her residence. 

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