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The judge set to preside over former Forth Worth police officer Aaron Dean, who shot and killed Atatiana Jefferson in 2019, has been removed from the case, per CBS News. The defense attorneys have claimed Judge David Hagerman treated their team with “anger” and “hostility.”
Tarrant County Judge Lee Gabriel granted the defense’s motion for recusal on June 28. The report says Hagerman presided over more than two years worth of proceedings in connection to Dean’s indictment.
Judge removed due to delays, criticized by state
In a hearing last week that came on the day jury selection was to begin for Dean’s murder trial, witnesses testified that Hagerman appeared irritated and hostile toward the defense. They also testified that they did not believe Dean could get a fair trial with Hagerman presiding over it.
The state noted that Hagerman had, at times, acted that way toward both the state and defense and that he had granted every defense motion to delay the trial.
The trial was supposed to start on June 21, which was the fourth time the trial was set to start. A new trial date has not been scheduled.
Hagerman had gone back and forth with the defense about scheduling issues at a hearing earlier this month. He had already delayed the trial multiple times at the defense’s request and wanted to stick with a June 23 start date. The lead defense attorney said it conflicted with a vacation request previously filed.
After that hearing, the defense filed a motion to recuse Judge Hagerman, accusing him of treating their team with hostility.
Someone called the police over a nearby open door. Moments later, a woman was killed.
Dean is facing a charge of murder for Jefferson’s shooting death in October 2019. According to an affidavit, the 28-year-old woman was playing video games with her 8-year-old nephew. But the front door to her apartment was left ajar to let in a breeze. A neighbor called the police to report the open door.
Dean and his partner opened a fence gate and walked into the back yard. Body-camera footage captured Dean shining his flashlight through the back window of the house. Jefferson heard movement outside and picked up her firearm and went to investigate. As she looked out her back window, Dean opened fire, killing her.
According to BET, the family has since filed a federal lawsuit against the city of Fort Worth, blaming the police for the boy’s emotional trauma.