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Defense team for former Fort Worth police officer Aaron Dean gets judge removed from murder trial

Aaron Dean strides out of a courtroom, wearing a black suit and a black tie. He does not look at the camera.
Miranda Suarez
/
KERA
Aaron Dean leaves a court hearing in December. Dean is a former Fort Worth police officer charged with murder in the on-duty killing of Atatiana Jefferson.

Aaron Dean’s defense team successfully argued that the judge assigned to Dean's murder trial is so hostile and biased that he needs to be removed.

Justice Lee Gabriel agreed to kick 297th District Court Judge David Hagerman off Dean's case, according to court documents signed Tuesday.

Dean is a former Fort Worth police officer charged with murder in the 2019 on-duty killing of Atatiana Jefferson. Dean shot Jefferson through the window of her own home without identifying himself as a police officer, body camera video shows.

Dean’s trial has been postponed repeatedly at the defense's request. Jury selection was finally set to begin June 21, but Dean’s attorneys argued again that date would conflict with other trials this summer and attorneys’ planned vacations.

Hagerman refused to change the date again, Dean’s attorneys said in court documents, so they filed a motion for Hagerman to recuse himself.

Hagerman refused to step down voluntarily, but Tuesday's new order means he must.

The case has been transferred from Hagerman's court to the 396th District Court of Tarrant County, where Judge George Gallagher presides, court documents show.

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

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Updated: June 28, 2022 at 1:56 PM CDT
This story has been updated to include information about the court Dean's case has been transferred to.
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.