Key people to know in Aaron Dean murder trial in Atatiana Jefferson killing in Fort Worth




  • In US
  • 2022-11-25 13:00:00Z
  • By Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Jury selection in the murder trial of former Fort Worth Police Department Officer Aaron Dean, who was indicted in connection with the shooting death of Atatiana Jefferson, will begin on Monday. These are key people to know as a jury considers the case.

The eyewitnesses

Zion Carr

Atatiana Jefferson's nephew Zion Carr was 8 years old in October 2019 and was inside a bedroom at his grandmother's house with Jefferson when she was shot. They had been playing a video game. Zion is on a list of witnesses.

Zion, the 8-year-old nephew of Atatiana Jefferson, was in the room when Fort Worth police Officer Aaron Dean shot and killed Jefferson through a window.
Zion, the 8-year-old nephew of Atatiana Jefferson, was in the room when Fort Worth police Officer Aaron Dean shot and killed Jefferson through a window.  

Carol Darch

Officer Carol Darch was, with Dean, dispatched on the open structure call at the house where Jefferson was living and was present when Dean shot Jefferson.

"Officer Darch said that they went into the backyard and Officer Dean was standing between her and the house and she could only see Jefferson's face through the window when Officer Dean discharged his weapon one time," the lead detective in the case wrote in an affidavit supporting an arrest warrant.

The defendant

Aaron Dean

Dean was 35 when he was indicted on murder in the Jefferson case.

When Dean was high school-age, he was home schooled. He attended the University of Texas at Arlington and graduated in 2011 with a degree in physics, according to his Fort Worth police application.

He worked as a "design/test engineer for commercial refrigeration systems" before becoming a police officer, according to his resume.

Dean was commissioned as a licensed peace officer on April 13, 2018.

On the day of his arrest in Jefferson's killing, Dean was released from custody after satisfying a $200,000 bond.

Dean is working, a defense witness testified on cross examination at a June hearing that led to recusal of the original trial judge. It is not clear what type of work he is doing.

Former Fort Worth police Officer Aaron Dean waits by the elevators after a hearing in his case on Tuesday, Nov.
Former Fort Worth police Officer Aaron Dean waits by the elevators after a hearing in his case on Tuesday, Nov.  

The state

R. Dale Smith

Assistant Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney R. Dale Smith was previously the chief of the unit that prosecutes child homicide cases.

Judge Ruben Gonzalez Jr.
Judge Ruben Gonzalez Jr.  

Ashlea Deener

With former Tarrant County prosecutor Kevin Rousseau, Assistant Criminal District Attorney Ashlea Deener in 2016 prosecuted on capital murder two defendants accused in the killing of Ashlea Harris, who was an assistant manager at a Hulen Mall clothing store.

Victoria Ford Oblon

Assistant Criminal District Attorney Victoria Ford Oblon handled the oral argument at a hearing on the state's opposition to the defense motion seeking the recusal of Judge David Hagerman in the Dean case.

The judge

George Gallagher

Gallagher began in January 2000 to serve as a judge in 396th District Court, a new criminal court in Tarrant County.

He is a former Tarrant County assistant district attorney and criminal defense attorney.

The Dean case was transferred to Gallagher on June 28 after the defense successfully sought the recusal of Judge David Hagerman.

Gallagher presided at the trial of Michele Williams, a Keller mother who was convicted of killing her husband.

A 2017 5th Court of Appeals ruling led Gallagher to lose jurisdiction in a securities fraud case in which Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is the defendant. Gallagher had ordered that the venue in the case change to Harris County from Collin County.

The defense

Jim Lane

Defense attorney Jim Lane has not appeared at recent pretrial hearings in the Dean case, and his in-courtroom participation during trial is in question because of his health.

Lane has substantial experience in defending similar cases.

Bob Gill

Defense attorney Bob Gill is a former prosecutor and state district judge in Tarrant County.

Gill presided over a case involving the killing of Fort Worth socialite Caren Koslow, who was slain in March 1992 by her stepdaughter, Kristi Koslow; Brian Salter, her former fiance; and Jeffrey Dillingham, a mutual friend.

He began in 2015 to work as a criminal defense attorney.

Miles Brissette

Defense attorney Miles Brissette is a former Tarrant County assistant criminal district attorney. He oversaw the office's forensic video analysis laboratory.

He began in 2015 to work as a criminal defense attorney.

The deceased

Atatiana Jefferson

Jefferson, who was 28 when she died, grew up in the Dallas area. She graduated from Xavier University in 2014 with a biology degree.

She worked in pharmaceutical equipment sales.

At the time she was killed, Jefferson was living at her ill mother's Fort Worth house and had moved there to help care for her.

Atatiana Jefferson was shot and killed on Oct.
Atatiana Jefferson was shot and killed on Oct.  
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