Atatiana Jefferson's Nephew, 11, Testifies Against Aaron Dean, Former Fort Worth Cop Charged With Murder
Zion Carr was just 8 years old when his aunt Atatiana Jefferson was shot and killed by police responding to a call about a possible burglary. Now 11, Zion took the stand to testify against the former officer charged with murder.
An 11-year-old boy took the stand to testify in the trial of a Texas police officer charged with murdering his aunt, Atatiana Jefferson.
Jefferson, 28, was shot and killed by a cop responding to a call about a possible burglary. She thought she heard a noise outside of their Fort Worth home when she grabbed her gun from her purse and kept the weapon close to her side as she approached the back window of her bedroom, Zion Carr, who was 8 at the time of the 2019 shooting, told jurors.
Zion testified that he thought he was “dreaming” when she then dropped to the ground.
Two police officers then rushed into the home, including Aaron Dean, who had just shot Jefferson through the window.
“I wasn’t upset, I was confused,” Zion said of how he felt on Oct. 12, 2019, “because I didn’t know if … it was a dream and I wasn’t waking up still.”
He said his aunt “was crying and just shaking.”
Zion told jurors he and his aunt were up late playing video games, and that after he burned hamburger patties, she had opened the house’s doors to let out the smoke. A neighbor called a non-emergency police line about the open door.
"I am calling about my neighbor," the caller said. "Well, the front doors have been open since 10 o'clock and I haven't seen anybody moving around. It's not normal for them to have both of the doors open this time of night."
Dean’s body camera was rolling as he responded to the call. He walked to the back of the house and turned toward a window. He never announced that he was a police officer but yelled at Jefferson to drop her gun. A split second later, he fired, killing Jefferson. He claims says she was pointing a gun at him, but when Jefferson’s nephew took the stand, he said the gun was pointing down.
“Are you sure she didn't have it up at all?” defense attorney Bob Gill asked the boy.
“No, sir,” Zion replied.
“You told us something different about how your aunt was holding that gun, didn't you?” Gill asked.
“No, sir,” Zion said.
Dean was arrested on a murder warrant two days after the shooting. Then-interim Fort Worth police Chief Ed Kraus said Dean resigned before he was able to be fired, the Dallas Morning News reported. Former Mayor Betsy Price and Kraus have said Jefferson was within her right to defend herself, the Morning News wrote.
Dean believed he and the other responding officer were at risk, took a half-step back, yelled his commands as trained and fired one shot, defense attorney Miles Brissette said.
“This case is about fact and not emotion,” Brissette said. “That officer considered that to be deadly force against him and acted accordingly.”
Prosecutors in opening statements said Dean had no reason to use lethal force.
“This is not a justification, this is not a self-defense case — this is murder,” prosecutor Ashlea Deener said. “Your home is supposed to be the one place on earth that you get to go to be safe, to seek shelter, to seek refuge. But for Atatiana Jefferson, her home was not her refuge, it was not her sanctuary or her safe place — it was her demise.
“And she left in a body bag because of what he did," Deener continued.
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