FORT WORTH, Texas — Jury selection resumed in the case of Aaron Dean on Thursday.
More than 140 prospective jurors were called back to the Tim Curry Criminal Justice Center in Fort Worth.
Judge George Gallagher said he hopes to have a jury picked by the end of the week.
He started the day off by talking to the potential jurors about their responsibility to be fair and impartial and what their duty will be once they take an oath to serve on the jury.
“We need you to be open and honest with us today. There are no right or wrong answers. We need 12 impartial jurors and two alternates who can come in with no preconceived notions,” said Gallagher.
Aaron Dean is accused of shooting Atatiana Jefferson in October 2019 in her home. Jefferson’s neighbor, James Smith, called a non-emergency number to check on Jefferson’s home after he saw an open door.
Dean and his partner responded and went around the back of the home. Dean shot Jefferson within seconds after she peered out the window to see who was in her backyard and was holding a gun. Police have said Dean never announced himself as an officer.
Prosecutors allowed prospective jurors to ask questions and talk about how they felt about law enforcement.
Several jurors stood up and said they could not be impartial and were biased toward Dean because he is a police officer.
One juror said, “I am sick and tired about the way police officers are treated and how they do their jobs. You could present your case but I am not going to be unbiased. I couldn’t convict any law enforcement of murder while involved in a shooting because they are doing their jobs and trying to come home to their families.”
One potential juror served 32 years as an officer in Tarrant County and said, “You will have an uphill battle convincing me that 10 seconds you can get into his mind and see what he saw and heard.”
Another juror stood up and said her husband is an ex-Fort Worth Police officer and said “You would have to get over a mountain to convince me to convict an officer for murder. I can’t see murder in an instant of self-defense.”
Defense attorneys had a chance to question the jury pool this afternoon.
They focused a lot on self-defense and whether they believe a police officer has a right to defend himself if he feels his life is in danger.
Several of the potential jurors talked about officers being held to a higher standard because they are trained to de-escalate and should follow their training.
Defense attorneys also told the jury that police officers make mistakes and can make mistakes when assessing threats.
One juror said “I think officers have a right to self-defense. But because they trained so I put officers at a higher standard before using deadly force. They need to take in to account their situation awareness and they should have a higher standard. You could have spared a life if you hadn’t reacted so quickly.”
They still have not picked a single juror yet.