Trial delayed for Texas officer who shot Black woman in her home

Aaron Dean’s trial had been set to begin Nov. 16,

FILE - This undated photo provided by the Tarrant County Jail shows Aaron Dean. Dean’s trial had been set to begin Nov. 16, 2021, more than two years after he shot 28-year-old Atatiana Jefferson during a late-night wellness check at her mother’s house. But Tarrant County court officials now say that date will only be a scheduling hearing and that Dean's case will not go to trial before Nov. 29, although it could be set for a later date. (Tarrant County Jail via AP, File) (Uncredited, Tarrant County Jail)

FORT WORTH, Texas – A Texas judge on Wednesday delayed the murder trial of a former police officer who is charged with fatally shooting a Black woman through a back window of her home in 2019.

Aaron Dean's trial in the killing of 28-year-old Atatiana Jefferson in Fort Worth had been set for Jan. 10. Judge David Hagerman granted a defense motion to postpone it because two experts were unavailable to testify in January.

Hagerman tentatively scheduled jury selection to begin on May 9 and opening statements on May 16.

“No further continuances will be granted in this case,” Hagerman said.

Any further pretrial motions, including a defense request to move the trial out of Tarrant County, are tentatively scheduled to be heard on May 2.

The case has been repeatedly delayed since Dean shot Jefferson during a late-night wellness check at her mother’s house. Many cases were delayed when the coronavirus pandemic caused courts across the country to postpone jury trials.

Dean, 37, resigned from the city police force two days after shooting Jefferson. He was charged with murder and released on a $200,000 bond.

Following the shooting, Fort Worth police released body camera footage that showed Dean walked around the side of the house, pushed through a gate into the fenced-off backyard and fired through a window a split-second after shouting at Jefferson to show her hands. Police went to the house after a neighbor called a non-emergency line to report that the front door was ajar.

Dean, who is white, was not heard identifying himself as police on the video. The city’s police chief at the time, Ed Kraus, said Dean acted without justification and that there was no sign he or the other officer who responded even knocked on the front door. Kraus said Dean would have been fired if he had not quit without giving a statement to investigators.