A former Texas cop who shot and killed Atatiana Jefferson inside of her Fort Worth home has been sentenced to upwards of 12 years in prison, a number that left the victim’s family disappointed in terms of justice.
Back in October 2019, Aaron Dean, a white man, gunned down Jefferson, a 28-year-old Black woman, while responding to an “open structure call” due to her front door being open.
Killer Cop Convicted Of Manslaughter – And Not Murder – With Jurors Unanimously Sentencing Him
Her nephew Zion, who was only 8-years-old at the time of the shooting, was inside the home when Jefferson was fatally shot.
Earlier this month, Dean was convicted of manslaughter – and not murder – which would have seen his sentence extended to at least 20 years, The Shade Room previously reported.
A Tarrant County jury instead unanimously sentenced him to 11 years, 10 months and 12 days in prison, after a day and a half of deliberation, according to Fox’s Dallas-Fort Worth affiliate station KDFW.
A jury found officer Aaron Dean guilty of manslaughter after he shot Atatiana Jefferson through her back window.
A psychologist who evaluated him before he was hired said that he was narcissistic and he wasn't psychologically suitable to be a cop. Fort Worth hired him anyway. pic.twitter.com/GJjj8Y8wQI
— Fifty Shades of Whey (@davenewworld_2) December 18, 2022
Jefferson’s sister Ashley Carr reacted to the sentencing after a gag order was lifted, and said that while the family wished Dean received more prison time, the fact that the trial is now over is a bit of a relief.
Jefferson’s Family Wished For More Prison Time, But Expressed Some Relief That The Ordeal Is Now Over
“Would we want more time? Yes, we would. But that’s what the jury decided,” said Carr while standing outside of Jefferson’s home, according to the news station.
“This has been hard guys,” she continued. “These three years have been hard.”
However, Carr added that there is some significance to the sentencing, noting Zion’s current age of 11, saying “there’s a message in this.”
“11 years is same age as Zion. 10 months and 12 days, that’s the day that it happened. There’s a message in this,” she said, according to KDFW. “It may not be the message that we wanted and the whole dream, but that is some of it.”
— Law&Crime Network (@LawCrimeNetwork) December 20, 2022
Meanwhile, the family’s attorney called the sentencing “a relief.”
“It wasn’t exactly the justice we all thought Atatiana deserved, but it does represent a historic moment in Fort Worth and Tarrant County,” attorney Lee Merritt said, according to KDFW.
Family Plans To File Federal Charges Against Dean, Who Will Be Up For Parole After Serving Half Of Sentencing
The outlet reports that Merritt and Jefferson intend on filing federal charges against Dean, who will reportedly be up for parole after serving just half of his sentencing, or a little over five years.
If he appeals, Dean will remain in prison during those proceedings.
Jefferson’ sister went on to say that her loathing of Dean has turned into pity.
“I have loathed the idea of you with your family during the holiday seasons for the last three years. Today, I have just arrived at pity,” Carr said in a message to Dean, KERA News reports.
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Ex-Texas police officer convicted of manslaughter for 2019 fatally shooting Atatiana Jefferson, a Black woman, through a window of her home. pic.twitter.com/OgLJZRFaEY
— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) December 15, 2022
Victim’s Sister Gives Emotional Victim Impact Statement, Adds Dean Will Never “Truly Repent”
She added the former cop will likely never “truly repent,” and noted “I pity you for your ignorance. You do not know enough to be ashamed.”
Carr called her late sister “a beautiful flower just starting to bloom” in an emotional victim impact statement, per NBC News.
“My sister did not do anything wrong. She was in her home, which should have been the safest place for her to be.”
Dean’s attorney, Bob Gill, tried to spin the situation during closing arguments last week, claiming he was acting in self-defense and that Jefferson forfeited her rights after aiming a handgun at him, according to WFAA.
“A tragedy doesn’t always equal a crime; it doesn’t always equal a law violation,” Dean’s attorney said during closing statements. “She [Atatiana] pointed a firearm at a Fort Worth police officer… the rights stop there,” Gill said. “It’s a crime and it’s an unlawful act.”
Dean did not immediately respond to a request for comment, PEOPLE reports.