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Police officer Aaron Dean found guilty of manslaughter in killing of Atatiana Jefferson


(FORT WORTH, Texas) — A jury has found former police officer Aaron Dean guilty of manslaughter in the death of Atatiana Jefferson, a 28-year-old Black woman who was fatally shot in her Fort Worth, Texas, home in 2019.

The jury considered both a murder charge and a lesser charge of manslaughter during its deliberations, according to Judge George Gallagher. Manslaughter is a second-degree felony according to Texas penal code. It’s punishable by two to 20 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

Dean’s sentence will be decided by the jury. The sentencing phase will begin Friday morning at 10 a.m. Eastern time.

Throughout the five days of testimony, the jury heard from Jefferson’s now-11-year-old nephew Zion Carr, who was in the room when she was shot.

Jurors also heard from Dean’s partner that night, Officer Carol Darch, the call center operator who gave Dean and Darch the information about Jefferson’s home that they received that night, and Dean himself. Additionally, Jurors heard from Richard Fries, the deputy medical examiner in Tarrant County, several other Fort Worth officers and detectives, a forensics video expert and law enforcement experts.

On Oct. 12, 2019, Dean and another officer responded to a non-emergency call to check on Jefferson’s home around 2:30 a.m. because a door was left open to the house.

Dean did not park near the home, knock at the door or announce police presence at any time while on the scene, according to body camera footage and Dean’s testimony.

Dean testified that he suspected a burglary was in progress due to the messiness inside the home when he peered through an open door. When Dean entered the backyard, body camera footage shows Dean looking into one of the windows of the home.

Jefferson and Zion were playing video games when they heard a noise, according to his testimony. Zion said in testimony his aunt had left the door open because they burned hamburgers earlier in the night and were airing out the smoke.

Jefferson grabbed her gun from her purse before approaching the window, Zion testified. Police officials have said Jefferson was within her rights to protect herself.

In body camera footage, Dean can be heard shouting, “Put your hands up, show me your hands,” and firing one shot through the window, killing Jefferson.

Dean resigned from the police department before his arrest. Fort Worth Chief of Police Ed Kraus has said Dean was about to be fired for allegedly violating multiple department policies.

ABC News’ Lisa Sivertsen contributed to this report.

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