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State, defense rest in murder trial of former Fort Worth police officer Aaron Dean

Aaron Dean trial Day 5
Amanda McCoy
/
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Aaron Dean listens to testimony during the fifth day of his on trial for the murder of Atatiana Jefferson on Tuesday, December 13, 2022, in Fort Worth. The defense rested its case just before noon.

Aaron Dean's defense team and the state rested Tuesday, the fifth day of Dean's murder trial. Closing arguments are expected Wednesday.

Story updated 12/13/22 at 4:00 p.m

Dean was charged with murder after fatally shooting Atatiana Jefferson in the early hours of Oct. 12, 2019.

Jefferson’s neighbor called a non-emergency number because he saw Jefferson’s doors open.

Nothing was wrong inside Jefferson’s home – she was up late playing video games with her nephew. But Dean thought the house was being burglarized, and he shot Jefferson through her bedroom window when he saw her holding a gun, he testified Monday.

The prosecution says there’s no evidence Dean could see Jefferson’s gun.

The defense called three witnesses. Dean and Grant Fredericks, a forensic video analyst, testified Monday. Much of the case hinges on Dean’s body camera footage from that night, and body cameras don’t always capture exactly what an officer sees, Fredericks said.

Law enforcement professor and Harris County Sheriff’s Office veteran Jay Coons testified Tuesday. He told the court that Dean acted reasonably based on the information he gathered that night.

According to Fort Worth police procedures, Dean should have called for backup if he suspected a robbery, prosecutor Dale Smith said.

After the defense rested, the prosecution got a chance to call witnesses again. The first rebuttal witness was Jonathyn Priest, a forensic expert and former member of the Denver police force who said Dean's actions that night were flawed.

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

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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.