Aaron Dean’s case is now in the jury’s hands, as they begin deliberations over whether to convict the former Fort Worth police officer for murder.
Dean shot Atatiana Jefferson through her bedroom window in the early hours of Oct. 12, 2019, while responding to a call about open doors at her home. Jefferson was inside playing video games with her nephew, but Dean thought the house was being burglarized, he testified.
The prosecution argues Dean botched the call and murdered an innocent woman. Dean’s defense attorneys say Dean shot in self-defense, because Jefferson had a gun at the time she was shot.
On Wednesday, the judge asked the jury to decide whether Dean was protecting himself or his partner when he shot Jefferson. If convicted of murder, Dean faces up to 99 years in prison. The jury could also convict him of the lesser offense of manslaughter or acquit him. If he’s convicted, the trial will move on to the sentencing phase.
Both sides presented their final pleas to the jury Wednesday morning.
The prosecution’s closing arguments
Dean violated the privacy and safety everyone should be able to rely on in their own home, prosecutors told the jury.
Dean and his partner went into Jefferson’s backyard that night without ever announcing their presence or identifying themselves as police officers. When Jefferson heard a noise outside, she had every right to pick up her gun and look out her window to see what was going on, prosecutor Ashlea Deener said.
“You can’t create the danger and then claim self-defense,” Deener said.
The defense’s case focused on Dean’s assertion that he could see Jefferson’s gun through the window before he fired.
But there’s no way Dean could have seen the gun, Prosecutor Dale Smith told the jury. Dean’s bullet passed through Jefferson’s bedroom window, and the glass shattering at high speed injured her face. Her hands and arms didn’t have the same injuries, Smith said.