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Prosecution rests its case against former Fort Worth police officer Aaron Dean

Aaron Dean Day 3.JPG
Amanda McCoy/amccoy@star-telegram.com
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Pool/Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Aaron Dean sits with his defense team during the third day of trial on Wednesday, December 7, 2022, in Fort Worth. Dean is accused of fatally shooting Jefferson in 2019 during an open shelter call.

The jury must decide whether Dean, who is accused of shooting and killing Atatiana Jefferson, acted in self-defense.

Story updated 12/7/22 at 5:20 p.m.

The prosecution has rested its case against former Fort Worth police officer Aaron Dean.

Attorneys are asking the jury to decide whether Dean acted in self-defense when he shot and killed Atatiana Jefferson on October 12, 2019. Dean shot Jefferson through the window of her home on East Allen Avenue while responding to a call about her doors being open in the early morning hours.

Dean’s murder trial began Monday after multiple delays, first due to the COVID-19 pandemic and then requests from the defense. Jefferson’s nephew Zion Carr, who was 8 years old when he witnessed his aunt’s shooting, testified Monday that his aunt heard something outside and pulled her gun out of her purse.

From the other side of the window, Dean yelled for her to put her hands up and then shot less than a second later, body camera footage showed. He never announced himself as a police officer.

Once inside the house, Dean never took any steps to try and save Jefferson’s life, the prosecution said.

Deputy Medical Examiner Richard Fries, who performed Jefferson’s autopsy, testified Wednesday there wasn’t much Dean or paramedics on the scene could have done.

“These are very devastating wounds. I would not expect somebody to survive them,” Fries said.

Dean’s defense team argued this week that Dean shot Jefferson in self-defense. He could see the green targeting laser from her gun trained on him, his attorneys said.

Dean’s partner that night, Officer Carol Darch, testified Tuesday that Dean never warned her there was a gun before he shot. She also never saw Jefferson’s gun through the window, she said -- just her eyes, “as big as saucers.”

“Is that burned in your memory?” prosecutor Ashlea Deener asked.

“Yes ma’am,” Darch said.

Dean’s defense team argued that Dean did the right thing by not announcing himself. After peeking through the house’s closed storm doors and seeing a mess, Dean and Darch thought the house could be in the middle of a robbery, Darch testified. Announcing themselves might have let a potential burglar get away.

The last witness jurors heard Wednesday was one of Jefferson's sisters, Ashley Carr. Carr told the court about Jefferson, an aspiring medical student, and looked at photos of her sister, capturing family life and the day of her college graduation.

There will be no proceedings for the rest of the week, Judge George Gallagher of the 396th District Court said. The trial will return 9 a.m. Monday.

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Got a tip? Email Miranda Suarez at msuarez@kera.org. You can follow Miranda on Twitter @MirandaRSuarez.

Miranda Suarez is KERA’s Fort Worth reporter. Before coming to North Texas, she was the Lee Ester News Fellow at Wisconsin Public Radio, where she covered statewide news from the capital city of Madison. Miranda is originally from Massachusetts and started her public radio career at WBUR in Boston.