Ex-Cop Who Killed Atatiana Jefferson Guilty of Manslaughter; Faces 20 Years in Prison

Ex-Cop Who Killed Atatiana Jefferson Guilty of Manslaughter; Faces 20 Years in Prison

The former police officer in Texas responsible for killing 28-year-old Atatiana Jefferson in her home in 2019 has been found guilty of manslaughter.

According to WFAA, after deliberating for 13 hours, the jury found ex-Fort Worth officer Aaron Dean guilty.  The verdict was made after five days of testimony at trial. Dean was transported to the Tarrant County jail. He faces up to 20 years in prison.

Members of the Jefferson family were present when the verdict was delivered.

“We’re glad there was a guilty verdict. That’s progress,” Rev. Crystal Bates, a minister and activist in Texas, said after hearing the verdict. “But there’s so much work to be done. How he is sentenced is going to send a message not only to him but to other law enforcement to not be so trigger-happy when you see somebody of color.”

CNN reported that Dean’s attorneys claimed the former officer fired in self-defense, but prosecutors stipulated that there was no evidence that Dean saw a gun in Jefferson’s hand before he fired his weapon through a bedroom window.

Jefferson’s 11-year-old nephew, who was present in the home with her when the incident took place, testified at trial.

Two years ago, based on a report by Courthouse News Service, Jefferson’s family sued the city of Fort Worth and  Dean for the wrongful death that took place at her home on October 11, 2019. The lawsuit is seeking compensatory and punitive damages.

Jefferson was playing video games with her nephew when the incident took place. Her neighbor called the police when she noticed Jefferson’s front door was open. She was concerned that something might have happened to her.

Jerome Eschor, Arita Eschor, and Venitta Body, who are relatives of Jefferson, claimed that Dean, who is white, failed to state that he was a police officer and went straight into Jefferson’s backyard when he could have gone to the front door when he responded to the 911 call from her neighbor. Jefferson’s family is seeking compensatory and punitive damages for excessive force, assault, battery, and supervisory liability.

“Dean, immediately, within seconds of seeing the resident inside of her home, shot her dead through a window of the home,” the 17-page complaint reads. “Defendant Dean in his prowl around the backyard of her home, caused Atatiana fear and uncertainty…Dean failed to render medical aide to Atatiana.”