Tarrant County District Court Judge David Hagerman will no longer preside over former Fort Worth Officer Aaron Dean’s murder trial, FOX 4 reported.
Justice Lee Gabriel granted the defense’s motion for Hagerman’s recusal from the case.
Dean’s attorneys claimed Hagerman was biased against them and their client. During the recusal hearing, 11 witnesses said they felt Hagerman showed bias toward Dean and his attorneys.
“In many ways, verbally and visually. You could just tell he was very angry,” attorney Harmony Schuerman testified. “And I felt he was being disrespectful toward the defense.”
Comment from Justice Gabriel or Judge Hagerman regarding the decision was not provided.
The former officer is accused of fatally shooting Atatiana Jefferson through a window of her mother’s home in 2019.
After responding to a call from a neighbor about an open door at the residence, Dean walked around the perimeter of the house into the backyard.
Upon seeing someone inside the home, he reportedly shouted for them (Jefferson) to show their hands before firing through the glass window, according to bodycam footage obtained by The Associated Press.
Prosecutors claim Dean never identified himself as a peace officer when he arrived at the house. In regards to images released by the police after the shooting that showed there was a gun inside the home, prosecutors argue Jefferson had the right to keep a firearm in the home and that she had retrieved it out of fear that there was a prowler outside the home.
Per the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dean was arrested the evening of the incident and subsequently resigned from the FWPD two days later. No public statement from the officer or his defense was immediately available.
There is no word on when a new judge will be assigned to the case.
Judge Hagerman’s recusal represents the latest hurdle to the start of the trial, which, as reported by The Dallas Express, has been delayed already for scheduling conflicts and a sick defense attorney.