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Texas officer sentenced to nearly 12 years in prison for killing of Atatiana Jefferson

Aaron Dean

A former Texas police officer was sentenced to nearly 12 years in prison Tuesday following his manslaughter conviction for shooting Atatiana Jefferson in her own home in 2019.

Aaron Dean, the 38-year-old White former Fort Worth police officer, had faced up to 20 years in prison for killing Jefferson, a 28-year-old Black woman.

Dean, in a gray suit, stood in court and showed no emotion as the verdict was read. Jefferson’s relatives read impact statements after the sentence of 11 years, 10 months and 12 days in prison was announced.

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The jury began deliberating on the sentence on Monday after convicting Dean last Thursday.

Prosecutors asked jurors to sentence Dean to the maximum 20 years in prison, saying anything less was a “travesty of justice.” Dean’s defense asked for a suspended sentence and community supervision, noting that he was acting in his role as a police officer and was not in need of rehabilitation.

The guilty verdict came more than three years after the deadly encounter in which Dean and his partner responded to Jefferson’s house around 2:25 a.m. on October 12, 2019. They arrived at her house after a neighbor called a non-emergency police line to report that her doors were open. They did not announce themselves as police at the home, and Dean then fatally shot through a bedroom window at Jefferson, who had been playing video games with her nephew, who was 8.

Dean resigned from the force days afterward and was arrested and charged with murder. He has been out on bond for the last three years.

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Trial testimony, which touched on race, police violence, gun rights and body-camera footage, began on December 5.

Dean was charged with murder, but jurors were allowed to convict him on a lesser charge of manslaughter. They had deliberated for more than 13 hours, according to CNN affiliate WFAA, before announcing a guilty verdict Thursday.

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