Aaron Dean Sentenced To Over 11 Years In Killing Of Atatiana Jefferson

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Aaron Dean, the former Texas police officer who was convicted of manslaughter in the 2019 shooting death of Atatiana Jefferson, was sentenced on Tuesday (December 20) to 11 years, 10 months, and 12 days in prison.

Jefferson, a 28-year-old Black woman, died on the night of October 12, 2019, after a neighbor called a non-emergency police line to report that her front door was left open. Jefferson was in her home playing video games with nephew Zion Carr that night, and the two had left the doors open to air out smoke from hamburgers that he had burnt, the boy previously testified.

Bodycam footage shows Dean and his partner Carol Darch responded to the report but didn't identify themselves as police at the home. Darch said in her testimony that the two suspected the house might have been burglarized, so they moved quietly into the backyard with their guns.

It was in the backyard where Dean fired a single shot through the window moments after ordering Jefferson, who was inside the home, to show her hands.

In his testimony, Dean claimed he was unable to see the race or sex of the person in the window. The ex-officer said he fired the fatal shot after seeing Jefferson holding a gun "pointed directly at me."

Darch wasn't facing the window during the shooting. She said he never informed her about seeing a gun before he pulled the trigger.

Carr testified that his aunt took her gun out, believing there was an intruder in the backyard.

Dean's sentence was handed down less than a week after he was found guilty of manslaughter. He was initially indicted on a murder charge, which could have sent him to prison for life, but the jury ultimately convicted Dean of manslaughter, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in Texas.

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