Atatiana Jefferson Murder Case Headed to Grand Jury - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Atatiana Jefferson Murder Case Headed to Grand Jury

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    Atatiana Jefferson Murder Case Headed to Grand Jury
    NBC 5 News
    From L-R: Atatiana Jefferson, former Fort Worth Police Officer Aaron Dean and interim Chief of Police Ed Kraus over a photograph of the shooting scene.

    The Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney's Office said Friday they intend to send the murder case against former Fort Worth police officer Aaron Dean to the grand jury.

    Dean is accused of fatally shooting Atatiana Jefferson, a Fort Worth woman killed in her home last weekend as Dean investigated an open structure call.

    Jefferson was home playing video games with her nephew when they heard a noise in their back yard. She grabbed a handgun from her purse and walked toward a window. That's where Dean, who had entered her back yard investigating the call, ordered her to put her hands up before firing a single, fatal round.

    Texas' castle doctrine law, on the books since 2007, is similar to many "stand your ground" laws and gives residents a strong legal defense to the use of deadly force in their homes if they perceive a threat.

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    Regarding Jefferson being armed, interim Fort Worth Chief of Police Ed Kraus said, "it makes sense that she would have a gun if she felt that she was being threatened or that there was someone in the back yard."

    Police were called by a neighbor who requested a welfare check after noticing Jefferson's front door had been open for a long time. The call to the home was dispatched as an open structure call, which could bring a different level of response from police if they believe the structure is open as the result of criminal activity.

    "We have completed an initial review of the case, and based on the evidence we intend to ask the Grand Jury for an indictment of murder against Aaron Dean," the DA's office said in a statement.

    The Tarrant County DA's office said they plan to prosecute the case to the fullest extent of the law.

    To protect the integrity of the case, the DA's office said statements about the case will be limited going forward.

    Jefferson's funeral, meanwhile, will be held at The Potter's House of Dallas at 2 p.m. Saturday. Jakes will deliver the eulogy and Rev. Al Sharpton is expected to give special remarks. NBC 5 has learned that former Dallas Mavericks forward Harrison Barnes, who is now with the Sacramento Kings, made arrangements to cover the financial cost of the funeral on Wednesday.

    The funeral is open to the public and organizers said anyone who wishes to pay their respects is welcome to attend.

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