Despite jammed dockets, 'imperative' ex-officer's trial is set, Fort Worth mayor says

Mattie Parker, Fort Worth Mayor, released Friday a statement in support of Mattie Parker's request to the judge of the state district court in charge of the case against a former officer of the city police who was charged with murder in the shooting deaths of a woman in 2019.Parker stated that she was concerned that Aaron Dean's trial in Atatiana Jefferson's murder remained unscheduled.Parker wrote that Fort Worth can't reconcile and move forward as one community until the criminal trial is over. And, Parker added, Atatiana Jeffersons friends and family cannot begin to heal.Parker stated that Judge David Hagerman, 297th District Court, is responsible for scheduling the trial.I am aware that Tarrant County courts have to balance a full docket with hundreds more cases that are behind schedule due the effects of the pandemic.Parker stated that, despite these obstacles, Parker said it was crucial to set a trial date as soon as possible.Hagerman stated that he would discuss the scheduling of a trial in Atatiana Jefferson's death with Aaron Deans and the Tarrant County Criminal District Attorneys Office at a status conference on Tuesday. The court records did not list any possible dates.Hagerman, who set October a tentative window for Dean's trial, said that while the scheduling may change in the case, it will most likely be held in August.Last week, Fort Worth Councilman Chris Nettles wrote a letter addressed to Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney Sharen Watson and Hagerman. He expressed frustration at the inability to schedule a trial.Dean is accused in the shooting death of Jefferson on October 12, 2019. Jefferson was her 8-year old nephew, and she died while caring for him at her mother's house on East Allen Avenue in Fort Worth.Because he saw open doors at his house, a neighbor called the police to report the situation. Dean and another officer responded immediately. Jefferson, a Black man aged 28, heard noises outside and believed that a prowler had entered the yard. According to a nephew's account, she was holding a gun and looking through a bedroom window when Dean fired once outside. This killed her. Dean is white and 36 years old.