NATIONAL NEWS

Texas officer convicted of manslaughter in window shooting

Dec 15, 2022, 2:01 PM
emergency lights...
FILE (KSL TV)
(KSL TV)

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — A former Texas police officer was convicted of manslaughter Thursday for fatally shooting a Black woman through a rear window of her home in 2019, a rare conviction of an officer for killing someone also armed with a gun.

Jurors found Aaron Dean not guilty of murder but convicted him of manslaughter in the death of Atatiana Jefferson. The conviction comes more than three years after the white Fort Worth officer shot the 28-year-old woman while responding to a call about an open front door.

Dean, 38, faces up to 20 years in prison on the manslaughter conviction. He had faced up to life in prison if convicted of murder. The judge told jurors Wednesday that they could also consider a manslaughter charge.

The Tarrant County jury returned the verdict after more than 13 hours of deliberation over two days. That followed six days of testimony and arguments in which the primary dispute was whether Dean knew Jefferson was armed when he shot her. Dean testified that he saw her weapon; prosecutors alleged the evidence showed otherwise.

The case was unusual for the relative speed with which, amid public outrage, the Fort Worth Police Department released video of the Oct. 12, 2019, shooting and arrested Dean. He’d completed the police academy the year before and quit the force without speaking to investigators.

Since then, the case had been repeatedly postponed amid lawyerly wrangling, the terminal illness of Dean’s lead attorney and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dean shot Jefferson 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 nephew and it emerged at trial that they left the doors open to vent smoke from hamburgers the boy burned.

Bodycam footage showed that Dean and a second officer who responded to the call didn’t identify themselves as police at the house. Dean and Officer Carol Darch testified that they thought the house might have been burglarized and quietly moved into the fenced-off backyard looking for signs of forced entry.

There, Dean, whose gun was drawn, fired a single shot through the window a split-second after shouting at Jefferson, who was inside, to show her hands.

Dean testified that he had no choice but to shoot when he saw Jefferson pointing the barrel of a gun directly at him. But under questioning from prosecutors he acknowledged numerous errors, again and again conceding that actions he took before and after the shooting were “more bad police work.”

Darch’s back was to the window when Dean shot, but she testified that he never mentioned seeing a gun before he pulled the trigger and didn’t say anything about the weapon as they rushed in to search the house.

Dean acknowledged on the witness stand that he only said something about the gun after seeing it on the floor inside the house and that he never gave Jefferson first aid.

Jefferson’s 8-year-old nephew Zion Carr was in the room with his aunt when she was shot. Zion testified that Jefferson took out her gun believing there was an intruder in the backyard, but he offered contradictory accounts of whether she pointed the pistol out the window.

On the trial’s opening day, the now 11-year-old Zion testified that Jefferson always had the gun pointed down, but in an interview that was recorded soon after the shooting and played in court, he said she had pointed the weapon at the window.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

National News

A masked suspect is seen lighting a Molotov cocktail in front of Temple Ner Tamid in a still image ...
Celina Tebor, Isa Kaufman-Geballe and Zoe Sottile

Man throws Molotov cocktail at New Jersey synagogue in arson attempt, police say

A man threw a Molotov cocktail at a New Jersey synagogue in an arson attempt on Sunday morning, police and the synagogue said.
1 day ago
Annie Wersching, seen here in 2019, has passed away. (Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP)...
Chuck Johnston and Alli Rosenbloom

Annie Wersching, ’24’ actress, passes away at 45

Actress Annie Wersching passed away of cancer early Sunday morning, her publicist, Craig Schneider told CNN. Wersching was 45 years old.
1 day ago
Authorities in Grants Pass, Oregon, are warning that suspect Benjamin Obadiah Foster, 36, may be tr...
Andy Rose and Nouran Salahieh

Oregon man suspected of kidnapping, beating a woman may be using dating apps to evade police

Oregon police are warning that a man suspected of kidnapping a woman and beating her unconscious may now be using dating apps to evade capture or find potential new victims.
1 day ago
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 18: U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy speaks during the United States Conf...
Allison Gordon and Pamela Brown

Surgeon General says 13 is ‘too early’ to join social media

US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy says he believes 13 is too young for children to be on social media platforms.
1 day ago
Saginaw Police K9 Cigan sits behind a table with evidence found inside a stolen car. (WNEM)...
Anna Kathman

Stolen vehicle, multiple drugs located by Michigan K9 officer

Saginaw Police said two suspects are behind bars after a stolen vehicle was located during a traffic stop by a K9 officer.
1 day ago
A 29-year old woman has been arrested after allegedly posing as a teenager and attending classes at...
Kiely Westhoff and Zoe Sottile, CNN

29-year-old woman posed as high school teen facing charges in New Jersey, police say

A 29-year-old New Jersey woman is facing charges over claims she used false government documents in a ploy to pose as a teenager at a high school, according to police.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 Reasons You May Want to Consider Apartment Life Over Owning a Home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t Let a Ransomware Attack Get You Down | Protect Your Workplace Today with Cyber Insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Texas officer convicted of manslaughter in window shooting