FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — The trial is delayed for a former Fort Worth police officer who was charged with murder after shooting a Black woman through a back window of her home while responding to a call about an open front door in 2019.
Aaron Dean’s trial had been set to begin Nov. 16, more than two years after he shot 28-year-old Atatiana Jefferson during a late-night wellness check at her mother’s house. But Tarrant County court officials now say that date will only be a scheduling hearing and that Dean’s case will not go to trial before Nov. 29, although it could be set for a later date.
His case was among many that were delayed when the coronavirus pandemic caused courts across the country to postpone jury trials.
Dean, who recently turned 37, resigned from the city police force two days after shooting Jefferson. He was charged with murder and released on a $200,000 bond.
Following the shooting, Fort Worth police released body camera footage that showed Dean walked around the side of the house, pushed through a gate into the fenced-off backyard and fired through a window a split-second after shouting at Jefferson to show her hands. Police went to the house after a neighbor called a non-emergency line to report that the front door was ajar.
Dean, who is white, was not heard identifying himself as police on the video. The city’s police chief at the time, Ed Kraus, said Dean acted without justification and that there was no sign he or the other officer who responded even knocked on the front door. Kraus said Dean would have been fired if he had not quit without giving a statement to investigators.
A judge has issued a gag order in Dean’s case and his lawyers did not respond to calls and emails seeking comment.