Justice will be delayed again for the family of Atatiana Jefferson, as a judge granted the former Fort Worth, Texas, cop who killed her yet another delay.
The killer, Aaron Dean, was scheduled for a trial to start Jan. 10, after several other postponements. But yesterday, the judge in the case agreed to his defense attorneys’ request to move the date back yet again because two of their “expert” witnesses have scheduling conflicts, according to the Dallas Morning News.
From the Dallas Morning News
State district Judge David Hagerman said that the absence of those witnesses “would result in an unfair trial” but that he would not grant any further delays. The trial is tentatively scheduled for May 16, with jury selection beginning May 9.
Dean’s lawyers also have requested a change of venue for the trial, arguing that extensive news coverage of the case makes a fair trial impossible. However, after granting the delay, Hagerman said it didn’t “make sense” to decide on the change-of-venue motion Wednesday and tentatively scheduled an additional pre-trial hearing for May 2.
On Monday, the first day of the hearing, Hagerman also granted mandatory background checks of witnesses and a review of any criminal history. Several of Jefferson’s family members were in the courtroom. The hearing resumed Tuesday morning and lasted less than two hours before Hagerman adjourned.
Keep in mind that Dean killed Jefferson in October 2019, and has been out on $200,000 bail since then. Also keep in mind that Dean is charged with murder and could face life in prison if convicted, and that this is all happening in Texas, which loves to go hard on murder suspects (unless, of course, they’re cops). Now, Dean gets to stay free for at least another six months, and potentially longer if Hagerman also grants the defense’s request to move the trial to another county.
We hate to retraumatize you, but just to keep track: Atatiana Jefferson was only 28-years-old on Oct. 12, 2019, when Dean shot her through the window of her own house. Jefferson was inside with her nephew playing video games when Dean and another officer showed up for what was supposed to be a quick check of the premises after a neighbor called to say Jefferson’s door had been left open. The cops never even knocked on Jefferson’s front door and didn’t announce themselves as police officers before Dean shouted at Jefferson and then shot her.
Meanwhile, relatives of Jefferson have filed multiple lawsuits against the city of Fort Worth, the former officer, the former police chief and the mayor.