After more than 13 hours of deliberation, a Texas jury on Thursday found a white former police officer guilty of manslaughter in the fatal shooting of 28-year-old Atatiana Jefferson in 2019.
Ex-Texas officer found guilty of manslaughter in fatal 2019 shooting of Atatiana Jefferson
Ex-Fort Worth cop Aaron Dean charged with murder after shooting a black woman in her home
Former Fort Worth police officer Aaron Dean, 38, shot Jefferson through a window in her home on Oct. 12, 2019, while responding to a non-emergency call from a neighbor about an open front door. That night Jefferson, who was Black, was playing video games with her nephew, who testified that his aunt grabbed a gun after hearing noises outside.
The trial itself included six days of testimony and arguments that centered on whether Dean saw Jefferson was armed before he shot her.
Jefferson's death, which came less than two weeks after former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger was convicted of murdering Botham Jean in his apartment, sparked backlash nationwide. Then-Police Chief Ed Kraus said there was "absolutely no excuse" for the shooting, and former Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price called it "unjustified." Dean resigned and was charged with murder.
The judge told the Tarrant County jury, which included no Black jurors, according to the Dallas Morning News, on Wednesday that they could also consider a charge of manslaughter.
Though the Fort Worth police department released body camera footage of the shooting and arrested Dean relatively quickly, the trial was delayed multiple times in part due to the COVID-19 pandemic and Dean's lead attorney having a terminal illness.
Dean faces up to 20 years in prison for manslaughter. He is scheduled for sentencing on Friday.