Criminal Justice

Jury sentences Aaron Dean to nearly 12 years in prison for fatal shooting of Atatiana Jefferson

Dean was convicted of manslaughter for shooting and killing Atatiana Jefferson in her home in 2019. He was on duty as a police officer at the time.

Aaron Dean looks towards the gallery before the continuation of the punishment phase of his trial on Monday, December 19, 2022, at Tarrant County’s 396th District Court. Dean was found guilty of manslaughter in the shooting death of Atatiana Jefferson in 2019.

Former Fort Worth police officer Aaron Dean has been sentenced to 11 years, 10 months and 12 days in prison for fatally shooting Atatiana Jefferson.

Jefferson was shot and killed in her home on Oct. 12, 2019. Dean is not eligible for probation.

On Thursday, a Tarrant County jury convicted Dean of manslaughter, a lesser crime than his original charge of murder. Dean shot Jefferson through her bedroom window while responding to a call about open doors at her home.

The jury had the option to convict Dean of murder, manslaughter, or acquit him. They chose the middle option, leaving some unsatisfied and others looking forward to healing. Dean is white, and Jefferson was Black, and her name is often brought up alongside names like George Floyd and Botham Jean.

Dean testified during trial he thought the house was being burglarized. Dean and his partner went into Jefferson’s backyard, saw Jefferson holding a gun through the window and shot in self-defense, he said.

The prosecution argued there’s no evidence Dean saw that gun, and Jefferson had the right to pick up a gun and defend her home.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates. KERA News is made possible through the generosity of our members. If you find this reporting valuable, consider making a tax-deductible gift today. Thank you. Got a tip? Email Miranda Suarez at msuarez@kera.org. You can follow Miranda on Twitter @MirandaRSuarez.

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