Ex-Texas Cop Aaron Dean’s sentencing is underway after he was convicted of Atatiana Jefferson’s death
The sentencing phase for former Texas police officer Aaron Dean began Friday, just a day after he was found guilty of manslaughter in the death of Atatiana Jefferson.
After 13 hours of deliberation, the jury convicted Dean of manslaughter. He faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
If Dean had been convicted of murder, he would have faced life imprisonment. The ex-cop, who was out on bail, was booked into the Tarrant County Jail after Thursday’s verdict.
Dean, a white police officer, fatally shot 28-year-old black woman Jefferson at her home in Fort Worth, Texas, in October 2019.
Aaron Dean, 38, has been convicted of manslaughter for fatally shooting a black woman through the back window of her home while he was a police officer responding to a call about an open front door
Atatiana Jefferson, 28, was armed when she was shot after a neighbor called a non-emergency police line to report her front door was open
Following Thursday’s verdict, the sentencing phase began Friday morning with several witnesses taking the stand for the prosecution.
Elizabeth Turner testified Friday that Dean fondled her by touching her breast while whispering in her ear in the library while they were both homeschooled students at UT-Arlington. She said she reported the incident and he was subpoenaed for simple assault.
Turner said the incident happened in the library as she bent over the table to look at the student newspaper.
“I was leaning across the table to check out the day’s headlines, and as I did, he wrapped his arms around my torso and his hand brushed my breasts,” she said. “As he did so, he leaned into my ear and whispered, like, ‘Does anyone know how great you are?’
Earlier on Friday, Dr. Kyle Clayton, a psychologist who studied Dean before he was hired by the Fort Worth Police Department, said he exhibited grandiose, “dominating, over-controlling” personality traits.
He also told the court that Dean was “mentally unfit to serve as a police officer” because his “narcissistic personality style would impair his judgement, decision-making and interpersonal skills and make him more likely to engage in behaviors that are self-defeating.” would put others at risk.’
The court also heard victim testimony from Jefferson’s brother, Adarius Carr.
The jury deliberated more than 13 hours for two days before finding Dean guilty of manslaughter. The main argument during the six days of testimonies and altercations was whether Dean knew Jefferson was armed when he shot her. Dean testified that he saw her gun; Prosecutors claimed the evidence showed otherwise.
Adarius Carr, right, holds his sister Ashley Carr’s hand as they leave court after Aaron Dean was found guilty of manslaughter in the shooting of Atatiana Jefferson
Aaron Dean, center, sits with his defense team after being found guilty of manslaughter in the shooting of Atatiana Jefferson on Thursday
Lesa Pamplin, an attorney and friend of the Jefferson family, said she was glad the jury took its time.
“These people looked closely at the evidence and did not rush into anything. And I’m happy, not pleased, but I’m glad they got manslaughter,” Pamplin said.
Another Jefferson family friend, Cliff Sparks, told The Dallas Morning News that he believes the verdict will send the message to other officers that they “can shoot and kill someone in their own backyard and receive the lesser charge.”
“That’s not right,” Sparks said. ‘None of this is right.’
Jefferson and Dean’s family members left the courtroom without comment.
According to officials, Dean joined the Fort Worth Police Department in April 2018
The courtroom and jury were shown a photograph of the gun found in Atatiana Jefferson’s home after she was fatally shot
Dean shot and killed Jefferson on October 12, 2019, after a neighbor called a non-emergency police line to report that the front door of Jefferson’s Fort Worth home was open. She had been playing video games with her nephew that night, and it turned out in court that they left the doors open to let out smoke from hamburgers that the boy had burned.
The case was unusual for the relative speed with which the Fort Worth Police Department released video of the shooting amid public outrage and arrested Dean. He had graduated from the police academy the year before and left the police force without speaking to investigators.
Since then, the case had been repeatedly postponed amid litigation, Dean’s lead attorney’s terminal illness and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Body camera footage showed Dean and a second officer who responded to the call did not identify themselves as officers inside the home. Dean and Officer Carol Darch testified that they thought the home might have been broken into and quietly moved into the fenced-off backyard to look for signs of forced entry.
Jefferson had been babysitting her then-8-year-old nephew when officers arrived at her home and allegedly failed to identify themselves
A bullet hole was seen in the rear window outside the Fort Worth home after the fatal shooting
There, Dean, gun drawn, fired a single shot through the window, a split second after she yelled at Jefferson, who was inside, to show her hands.
Dean testified that when he saw Jefferson point the barrel of a gun directly at him, he had no choice but to shoot. But when questioned by prosecutors, he admitted numerous mistakes, repeatedly acknowledging that his actions before and after the shooting were “inferior police work”.
Darch had his back to the window as Dean fired, but she testified that he never mentioned seeing a gun before pulling the trigger and said nothing about the gun as they stormed in, around the house to browse.
Dean admitted on the witness stand that he only said anything about the gun after seeing it on the floor in the house and that he had never administered first aid to Jefferson.
Jefferson’s 8-year-old nephew, Zion Carr, was in the room with his aunt when she was shot at. Zion testified that Jefferson drew her gun because she believed there was an intruder in the backyard, but he gave conflicting accounts as to whether she pointed the gun out the window.
On the opening day of the trial, Zion, now 11, testified that Jefferson always had the gun pointed down, but in an interview taped shortly after the shooting and played in court, he said she pointed the gun at the window .
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11546691/Ex-Texas-cop-Aaron-Deans-sentencing-underway-convicted-Atatiana-Jeffersons-death.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Ex-Texas Cop Aaron Dean’s sentencing is underway after he was convicted of Atatiana Jefferson’s death