Aaron Dean Trial: Defense, prosecution rest; closing arguments set for Wednesday

Closing arguments are set to begin Wednesday morning in the Aaron Dean murder trial.

Dean is facing a murder charge for shooting and killing Atatiana Jefferson inside her mother's home in Oct. 2019.

Closing arguments will be held in the trial Wednesday morning.

The defense rested its case late Tuesday morning after presenting a total of three witnesses. 

The final witness was Dr. Jay Coons a use-of-force expert.  He summarized that Dean and his partner acted appropriately with regard to their police training and under the circumstances in the moments leading up to Jefferson’s fatal shooting.

Jefferson was in a bedroom with her nephew playing video games when she heard noises in her backyard. 

Dean was investigating an open structure call at the home. He testified he saw her silhouette and a gun pointed at him before yelling a command and firing a single shot and killing Jefferson. 

Questioning for Coons on direct and cross-examination included how the officers approached, their decision not to announce themselves as police and opening a closed gate to enter the backyard.

"They didn’t know what they had. They don’t see anybody, so they go ahead and cross the threshold. So the way in which they did it, given the nature of the call, given the information they picked up at that point, it was perfectly fine," Coons said. "Officer Dean’s actions that night — and yes this is a terrible event, there’s nothing good about this — but his actions as a police officer were reasonable in what he was doing."

"There’s nothing in writing that says don’t verbally identify yourself at an open structure call, is there?" questioned prosecutor Dale Smith. 

"In those words, for that particular call, no," Coons said.

After the defense rested, prosecutors called a rebuttal witness, Jonathyn Priest. He’s a forensic expert on officer-involved shootings. He testified the officers should have announced themselves at the open front door or called for backup and waited.

"There were a number of mistakes made in this particular case. The officers certainly could’ve followed better practices in how they approached the scene. From a tactical aspect, there were difficulties in how the shooting actually occurred," he said. "They move to a backyard, where now we’re dealing with a warrantless entry issue. They’re going through a gate to get into a secure backyard with no exigent circumstances that I saw. So from a tactical standpoint at this point, they’re not only going into a blind area through a closed wooden fenced yard, they’re violating their policies and procedures. It made zero tactical sense."

FOX 4 will have gavel-to-gavel coverage on fox4news.com and our YouTube page, plus live updates from the courtroom throughout the day.

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Previous Coverage

Dean was the first witness called by the defense team on Monday morning. When asked why he waived his Fifth Amendment rights Dean said, "This jury needs to hear from me, and hear the truth." 

Dean told the jury he thought the house was burglarized and claims he found himself staring down the barrel of a gun. 

Prosecutors worked to break down his version of events. He admitted some of his decisions were "bad police work." He also admitted he did not announce he saw a gun before he fired and failed to tell his partner he saw a gun when they went into the home.

After Dean testified, the defense called a forensic video analyst, to the stand. He testified that Dean could see more than the body camera showed.

But there was a key moment under cross-examination when the defense witness was asked about how quickly Dean fired at Jefferson after starting to tell her to put her hands up. The expert witness says it was just over half a second.

After the defense presents its case, the prosecution will have a chance to call rebuttal witnesses.

If convicted of murder, Dean faces a possible sentence anywhere from five to 99 years in prison.

Atatiana Jefferson Shooting Timeline

The shooting happened on Oct. 12, 2019.

Atatiana Jefferson was babysitting her 8-year-old nephew at her mother's house.

A neighbor made a non-emergency call to police because a door was open with lights on.

Officer Dean arrived, walked into the backyard and saw Jefferson in a window with her gun in her hand. Dean yelled, "put your hands up! Let me see your hands!" before immediately firing a single shot, killing Jefferson.

The shooting led to protests against the Fort Worth Police Department.

If you have issues viewing the timeline click here.