Nearly three years since the alleged murder, the trial of a former Fort Worth police officer has been set for later this year.
In October 2019, former Fort Worth police officer, Aaron Dean, was charged with the murder of Atatiana Jefferson after she was shot and killed during a non-emergency check-up call to Jefferson’s residence.
The new trial date is November 16, 2022, when pretrial hearings begin.
Fort Worth City Councilman Chris Nettles claimed, “Today is long overdue. It has now been 708 days since Atatiana Jefferson was murdered, and we have waited every day to see Aaron Dean stand trial. … I believe that the activism of our community, and our persistence for demanding justice, helped bring this day to fruition.”
The long delay was partially due to the suspension of trials resulting from the COVID pandemic. However, the trial of Dean, in particular, has encountered several complications. In December 2021, defense attorneys requested a change of venue, which was denied.
The trial has been postponed several times, with the original trial set to take place in January before it was pushed to June, as reported by The Dallas Express. Furthermore, in July, the judge presiding over the case was recused on accusations of bias against the defense.
In the meantime, Jefferson’s sister has filed several lawsuits in district court for damages as her young son witnessed the shooting occur.
She is asking for more than $10 million from the city, retired Police Chief Ed Kraus, and former mayor Betsy Price, alleging that they “knew of the failures of the Fort Worth Police Department… but failed to take the necessary steps to rectify the failures.”
Several other relatives of Jefferson have also filed similar lawsuits, including her father and aunt.
Jury selection will occur from November 28 to December 2, before the courtroom trial begins on December 5.