The white former Fort Worth police officer who shot and killed a black woman in her home in October was indicted on a murder charge by a grand jury Friday.
Aaron Dean shot and killed 28-year-old Atatiana Jefferson on Oct. 12. She was up late playing video games with her 8-year-old nephew, who was in the room when she was shot.
An attorney for Jefferson’s family, Lee S. Merritt, said on Twitter that her family was relieved by the indictment, but would not be satisfied until Dean is convicted and receives "appropriate sentencing."
#AaronDean has been indicted for MURDER by a Tarrant County Grand Jury for shooting #AtatianaJefferson to death in her home on Oct 12, 2019. Though her family is relived by the news, we need to see this through to a vigorous prosecution & appropriate sentencing. pic.twitter.com/u2DuzaoGvd
— S. Lee Merritt, Esq. (@MeritLaw) December 20, 2019
"This is a huge first step in the long road to justice for this family," Merritt said in a statement.
At a press conference Friday afternoon, Merritt said Jefferson's family has a civil lawsuit ready to go for after the trial.
"We're going to see what we learn in the trial before actually filing the suite," Merritt said.
When Jefferson was shot, Dean and his partner were responding to a call from a neighbor concerned that the door at Jefferson’s mother’s home in east Fort Worth was open in the middle of the night.
Video recorded by Dean’s body camera shows him quietly checking the perimeter of the house, peering into windows, and entering the backyard through a gate in the fence. When he saw Jefferson standing in a back bedroom window, he shouted for her to raise her hands and shot her through the glass. He never identified himself as an officer.
Dean resigned from the force two days later and was arrested.
Jefferson, 28, worked selling pharmaceutical equipment and was studying for the medical school entrance exam. She’d moved in with her mother, who’d been unwell, to help out.
Updated: 3:43 p.m.