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No decision on changing start date of murder trial for ex-Fort Worth officer Aaron Dean

A hearing was held Friday afternoon as prosecutors sought to possibly move the trial up from May to March.

TARRANT COUNTY, Texas — A judge has not yet decided whether to move the trial date, for the fourth time, for a former Fort Worth police officer. It's been more than two years since Atatiana Jefferson was shot through a window by the officer during a late-night wellness check.

Aaron Dean is charged with murder in Jefferson's Oct. 12, 2019 death. The lawyers for the former officer and the prosecution had a hearing at 2 p.m. Friday where prosecutors sought to move the trial up from May 16 to March.

On Friday, defense attorneys argued that at least two of their key witnesses would not be available in March.

Dean attended Friday's hearing virtually reportedly because of a medical condition that doesn't allow him to be at the courthouse in person.

Jefferson's sisters, Ashley and Amber Carr, attended Friday's hearing in person. They and others, including attorneys, on both sides connected to the case are under a court gag order to not participate in public comment about the case.

State prosecutors filed the motions to move up the trial, saying a four-month delay was excessive. The trial date has been delayed due to the pandemic and other factors.

In December, the judge granted a delay due to scheduling conflicts with witnesses for the defense.

RELATED: Aaron Dean trial pushed back yet again after judge grants request for delay. Here's when the new date could be

Previously, the trial for Dean was set to begin on Jan. 10, 2022, then in December attorneys for Dean said that two "essential witnesses" had schedule conflicts and couldn't prepare for the trial in December.

After delays because of the pandemic, the trial was initially scheduled to begin in mid-November. A judge later scheduled it for the January date. 

The judge has yet to decide on whether to grant a request for a change of venue for the trial. Those are rarely granted and could come after the jury selection process.

What happened

On the night of Oct. 12, 2019, a neighbor had called police requesting a welfare check after he saw the door open at Jefferson's Fort Worth home. 

Jefferson, 28, was playing video games with her 8-year-old nephew when Dean walked into the backyard. She grabbed her gun and had gotten up to look out the window when she was shot, police records show. Jefferson died at the scene.

An arrest warrant stated three times that Dean did not announce that he was a police officer when he walked around the house.

Dean did not give any statement to Fort Worth investigators on why he shot, officials said. In such investigations, it's common for a police officer to give a statement to investigators and to the internal affairs division of their police department. 

Dean resigned before he could be fired, Fort Worth Police Department officials said.