Fort Worth

Fort Worth Mayor, Others Subpoenaed by Former Officer in Atatiana Jefferson Murder Trial

Trial of former police officer is set to start Nov. 16

NBC 5 News

Attorneys for the former Fort Worth police officer accused of murdering Atatiana Jefferson have subpoenaed the mayor and other city officials for the first day of the trial on Nov. 16.

They’ve also subpoenaed news organizations including NBC 5 for information about how many stories have been done on the case – a sign they may ask for a change of venue because of pre-trial publicity.

Attorneys for the former officer, Aaron Dean, issued orders late last week for Mayor Mattie Parker and city council member Chris Nettles to appear as defense witnesses.

Dean responded to a report from a neighbor about an open door at Jefferson’s house in October 2019 and shot at her through a back window without announcing himself as an officer, according to police body camera footage. Jefferson had a gun, police said at the time.

Parker has not yet received the subpoena, spokeswoman Bethany Warner said.

Parker had not been elected at the time of the shooting but was chief of staff to former mayor Betsy Price.

Nettles said he and his assistant, Sally Matzen, received the order to appear on Friday.

“I believe they may try to question me on my letter I sent requesting a trial date,” Nettles said.

Nettles delivered a letter to Judge David Hagerman urging him to set a trial date, which he later did for Nov. 16.

Civil rights attorney Lee Merritt, who represents Atatiana Jefferson’s estate in a civil claim, was also on the list to get a subpoena but said he hasn’t received it yet.

“They are just going to gag me,” Merritt said. “If I’m on the witness list I can’t speak with the media.”

Merritt, an outspoken critic of many police-involved shootings, said he would fight any gag order.

Hagerman has ordered parties involved in the case not to discuss it publicly.

Dean’s attorney, Miles Brissette, also subpoenaed a wide range of city records in the case.