Jury deliberates ex-Texas officer’s sentence in killing

Posted at 9:28 PM, December 19, 2022 and last updated 4:15 PM, December 20, 2022

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — A jury recommended a prison sentence of 11 years and 10 months for a former Texas police officer convicted of manslaughter last week for fatally shooting Atatiana Jefferson.

Aaron Dean, 38, shot Jefferson through a rear window of her home in 2019.

Prosecutors requested a maximum sentence of 20 years during closing arguments in the sentencing phase. But jurors also had the option of sentencing him to probation, which is what the defense asked jurors to give him.

 

READ MORE: TX v. Aaron Dean: Trial Highlights

The white Fort Worth officer shot the 28-year-old Black woman while responding to a call about an open front door. His guilty verdict was a rare conviction of an officer for killing someone who was also armed with a gun.

Aaron Dean looks towards the gallery before the continuation of the punishment phase of his trial on Monday, Dec. 19, 2022, at Tarrant County’s 396th District Court at the Tim Curry Criminal Justice Center in Fort Worth, Texas. Dean, a former Fort Worth Texas Police Officer, was found guilty of manslaughter in the shooting death of Atatiana Jefferson in 2019. (Amanda McCoy/Star-Telegram via AP, Pool)

During the trial, the primary dispute was whether Dean knew Jefferson was armed. Dean testified that he saw her weapon; prosecutors claimed the evidence showed otherwise.

Dean shot Jefferson on Oct. 12, 2019, through a rear window of the home after a neighbor called a nonemergency police line to report that the front door to Jefferson’s home was open. She had been playing video games that night with her 8-year-old nephew and it emerged at trial that they left the doors open to vent smoke from hamburgers the boy burnt.

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