Dean chose to let the verdict come from the jury rather than from Judge George Gallagher.
FORT WORTH, Texas – After a day of testimony and more than 13 hours of deliberation, a Tarrant County jury has sentenced former Fort Worth officer Aaron Dean to 11 years, 10 months and 12 days.
Dean was convicted of manslaughter in the 2019 shooting of Atatiana Jefferson on Thursday, December 15.
The jury heard several witnesses from both the prosecution and the defense. After more than 13 hours of deliberation, the jury returned Tuesday with a verdict.
After the sentencing, testimonies about the victims’ impact were made, including testimonies from a family friend and from Jefferson’s eldest sister, Ashley Carr, who also provided testimony from her sister, Amber Carr.
In Amber Carr’s testimony, she said Jefferson is her shoulder to lean on and that she relies on.
“She was my inspiration, even though she really didn’t have time to help, she seemed to find a way to do it,” Amber Carr said in a statement. “She was so hilarious. She was joking all the time until our tummy hurt.”
Amber Carr’s testimony also said that no amount of sentencing would make her feel like she was receiving any measure of justice.
“Atatiana should still be here,” the statement continued. “Dean had no regrets, you could tell by his demeanor. The only difference was when the verdict was read when he looked shocked.”
Amber Carr’s testimony concluded that she and her family still view Jefferson’s death as murder, and that Dean turned out to do the same.
Calling her sister amazing, Ashley Carr said her heart breaks knowing her family and the world have lost a beautiful ray of sunshine.
“My sister did nothing wrong,” Ashley Carr said. “She was in her house, which should have been the safest place for her, but turned out to be the most dangerous. She was murdered, and as her big sister, I live with the pain every day that I couldn’t do my job and protect her.”
Ashley Carr said she used to be jealous of Aaron Dean, who was allowed to see his family before the verdict, but now she only feels sorry.
“I loathed the idea of you being with your family over the holiday season,” she said. “Today I just got to pity – not because of the punishment you received. I apologize for your ignorance. You do not know enough to be ashamed, you are not aware enough to understand your responsibility for this evil act. “
In conclusion, Ashely Carr said she hopes Dean spends the rest of his life thinking about this moment and that his service as an officer is an enduring stain on the city of Fort Worth.
“Her only legacy in this life will be the unrepentant murder of my sister,” she concluded. “That will be the punishment you really have to face.”
Dean had elected to let the jury’s verdict come from Judge George Gallagher instead.
In Monday’s closing arguments, prosecutors urged the jury not to forget victim Jefferson when deciding whether to go to prison or probation for Dean’s murder.
“They judge him for what he did. You’re holding him accountable for the decisions he made, and now you must be wondering what Atatiana’s life’s work is,” District Attorney Dale Smith said.
Smith also got emotional while describing Jefferson’s final moments before the jury.
“As Atatiana breathed her last on the floor in front of her nephew, who was gasping for air…fighting for life and he [Dean] was standing over her and he wasn’t providing any help — he wasn’t trying to do anything,” Smith said.
Defense attorneys say Dean acted in self-defense because he saw Jefferson with a gun pointed at him.
“There’s nothing to be gained by sending this man to prison,” defense attorney Bob Gill said.
Gill pressed the jury for probation during his closing arguments, eventually getting Dean to stand.
“Ladies and gentlemen, this is Aaron Dean. This is the man you’ll be judging in a few minutes,” Gil said. “He’s a good man, he’s a very good one… We ask that you consider all the good qualities you’ve heard about him.”
Trial and Judgment Summary
The sentencing phase for former Fort Worth officer Aaron Dean began Friday morning after a Tarrant County jury found him guilty of manslaughter Thursday afternoon.
Dean was taken into custody and taken to a Tarrant County Jail after the verdict was read.
As a result of the verdict, Dean faced two to 20 years in prison.
If the jury had sentenced Dean to 10 years or less and recommended parole, Judge Gallagher would have to agree.
According to WFAA investigative reporter Tanya Eiserer, Dean could not get a suspended sentence and no guarantee of appeal if his sentence exceeded 10 years.
The murder trial began on Monday December 5th.
The verdict came after five days of testimony and more than 13 hours of deliberation.
This is an evolving story, check back for updates.
https://www.kvue.com/article/news/special-reports/fort-worth-aaron-dean-sentenced-shooting-death-atatiana-jefferson/287-9a232aa4-88fe-4509-8021-59b1ce3df696 Aaron Dean: Former officer sentenced to 11 years and 10 months