Attorneys want Atatiana Jefferson's neighbor to stop demonstrating with sign outside court




  • In US
  • 2022-11-28 23:21:11Z
  • By Fort Worth Star-Telegram

At recent hearings about the killing of Atatiana Jefferson, her neighbor James Smith has frequently been seen outside the courthouse with a banner reading, "We want justice!"

Smith has said he keeps reliving the morning of Oct. 12, 2019, when he called Fort Worth police to ask that they check on his neighbor's home because the doors were open. One of the responding officers, Aaron Dean, shot and killed Jefferson through a window of her home on East Allen Avenue.

Jury selection in Dean's murder trial began Monday and Smith was once again outside the Tim Curry Criminal Justice Center with his sign, which includes Jefferson's name and a large photo of her.

Dean's attorneys want Smith to stop, they said during a brief hearing in Judge George Gallagher's courtroom Monday afternoon.

James Smith holds up a sign for Atatiana Jefferson as a recusal hearing is happening on Judge David Hagerman’s status in the Aaron Dean case on June 23, 2022, in Fort Worth.
James Smith holds up a sign for Atatiana Jefferson as a recusal hearing is happening on Judge David Hagerman’s status in the Aaron Dean case on June 23, 2022, in Fort Worth.  

Prosecutors said they have cautioned Smith that his demonstrations could have a detrimental effect on the trial but that they don't feel they have the authority to tell him what he can or cannot do on public property.

The attorneys and judge agreed that if Smith returns, they will swear him in as a witness, which would prevent him from speaking about the case due to a gag order that covers all participants in the trial.

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