HomeWorldAaron Dean found guilty of manslaughter in the 2019 murder of Atatiana...

Aaron Dean found guilty of manslaughter in the 2019 murder of Atatiana Jefferson

Aaron Dean, the white former Texas police officer accused of shooting and killing Atatiana Jefferson, a black woman, in her own home, has been found guilty of manslaughter.

Dean had initially been charged with one count of murder. On Wednesday, the judge told the jury that they might consider a verdict of manslaughter.

Dean will be sentenced at a later date. The maximum penalty for manslaughter in Texas is 20 years in prison.

Dean arrived at the Jefferson home on October 12, 2019, and responded to a call about an unlocked front door. He was revealed during the long overdue trial that Jefferson’s nephew had come home and that the door to the house was open to vent the smoke from the hamburgers he burned. A neighbor had reported the open door to a non-emergency police line, and Dean testified that he believed a robbery was in progress.

While looking for signs of burglary, Dean went to the backyard of the house. Jefferson was at a window with a gun he owned. Jefferson’s nephew, who was 8 at the time of the shooting, said his aunt grabbed the gun because she heard noises outside.

The main issue at the trial was whether Dean saw the gun before opening fire. Dean testified that he had seen the barrel of the gun pointed at him, so he opened fire; his defense attorney Bob Gill said in closing statements that Dean had the right to self-defense.

While presenting his case, prosecutor Dale Smith argued that Dean didn’t announce himself and didn’t give Jefferson time to carry out orders like raise his hands. Prosecutors also alleged that Dean never saw the gun, describing him as an “eager loader” who “just fired.” Body camera footage released by the Fort Worth Police Department shows Dean firing about a second after addressing Jefferson.

Dean had completed his police academy training the year before the 2019 shooting, and abandon force two days after the shooting, hours before he was arrested and charged with murder.

Jefferson’s death, some seven months before the death of George Floyd sparked protests around the world, also sparked outrage. CBS News DFW reporter Caroline Vandergriff said the scene after the verdict was read aloud was emotional, with audible outrage playing in the background and chants of “no justice, no peace” from those who had been watching. judgment.

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