FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – The former Fort Worth police officer who shot and killed Atatiana Jefferson in her home in October has been indicted for murder.
Officials with the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office confirmed to CBS 11 News that a grand jury indicted Aaron Dean “on the charge of murder”.
Dean, 35, was in the backyard of Jefferson’s home on East Allen Avenue when he shot the 28-year-old through a window after responding to a call from a neighbor about the front door of the house being open.
Through sobs and from a hospital bed, Yolanda Carr shared the agony of her daughter’s loss.
“At least we know that justice was served, and he will be accountable for murder,” she said. “He murdered my baby in my home. She wasn’t doing anything. She didn’t do anything. She didn’t do anything wrong.”
The day of the shooting, Fort Worth police said Officer Aaron Dean had perceived a threat. He resigned from the department and was arrested. Now that a Grand Jury has indicted him for murder, relatives said they are cautiously optimistic about the future of the case.
“We do understand that that day in court has a lot of challenges that we will still have to face, so we’re still trying to embrace what’s next,” said Ashely Carr, Jefferson’s sister.
They’re hoping for a conviction and an appropriate sentence and believe a special prosecutor should be appointed. But other relatives say even that wouldn’t be enough. Jefferson’s father, Marquis Jefferson, died four weeks after the death of his only child.
“I’ve never seen anyone deteriorate so fast,” his brother, Lapaca Jefferson said. “His heart just was broken.”
He wants Dean charged with not one murder but two.
“I’m thinking about why they didn’t charge him with my brother’s murder, because the same bullet that killed her killed him 28 days later,” he said.
The Fort Worth Police Department said in a statement that it respects the Grand Jury’s decision and will continue to work closely with the DA’s office but that, due to a gag order, could not comment any further.
Dean, who joined the Fort Worth Police Department in April 2018, resigned two days after the shooting and just hours before being arrested and charged with murder.
In a police evaluation in April, Dean’s supervisor commended him for working at the level of more experienced officers, exhorting him to “keep up the good work.” But in a May 2018 performance review, the supervisor wrote that Dean had poor communication skills, sometimes suffered from tunnel vision and had missed calls for help over the radio. Another review accused him of being evasive rather than owning up to doing wrong.
According to Dean’s original arrest affidavit, Jefferson was inside a bedroom playing video games with her 8-year-old nephew moments before the shooting. The 8-year-old boy told police his aunt heard noises outside and that she grabbed her handgun.
Body-cam video from Dean’s perspective showed the former officer walking around the home, shining a flashlight into a window and shouting “Put your hands up! Show me your hands!” and less than a second later firing a shot. Investigators confirmed that Dead did not identify himself as an officer at any point.
WATCH: Fort Worth Police Officer Shoots, Kills Woman Inside Her Own Home
Less than three weeks after Jefferson’s murder, and nearly two months before the grand jury decision, the judge presiding over Dean’s case — David Hagerman — issued a gag order surrounding the proceedings.
Hagerman’s order prevents anyone connected with the case from making statements about witnesses, evidence or any opinion about Dean’s guilt or innocence.
The shooting of Atatiana Jefferson happened less than two weeks after former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger was sentenced to 10 years in prison after being convicted of murder in the fatal shooting of her neighbor Botham Jean inside his own apartment.