FORT WORTH, Texas — Prosecutors promised, after three years of waiting, they would prove to the jury and the public Aaron Dean is guilty of murder.
"He didn’t see a gun in her hand. This is not justification. This is not a self defense case. This is murder,” said Ashlea Deener, prosecutor
But some community leaders say they were disappointed the state called less than a dozen witnesses and rested its case after only three days.
"How can you rest? We go three [years] before we start a trial. And you go three days? That’s unacceptable. That was a poor job by the prosecution,” said Cory Session, community activist.
They wanted to hear from the former police chief who said publicly Dean violated his training and would have been fired. They wanted Dean’s training records presented to the jury showing that two of his field training officers were concerned he didn’t pay attention to his surroundings.
“A lot of that would be considered prejudicial against the defendant, Officer Dean. Now, if the defense opens the door for that in legal speak, then State could introduce it later,” said Taly Haffar, former prosecutor.
Some community leaders also questioned why the State didn’t call any use of force experts to potentially show what Dean did was not justified.
He fired within split seconds after seeing Atatiana Jefferson at her window and never identified himself as an officer.
”That’s poor prosecution in my opinion to not call people who are vital to the prosecution of this case. It’s mind boggling,” said Session.
Prosecutors told the jury on day one they would see the body camera video of the shooting multiple times but it was shown only once.
"I was always told if the evidence is good to show once, show it twice, make sure it gets in front of the jury to make sure they understand,” said Haffar.
Prosecutors also called only one character witness, Atatiana’s sister to talk about who her sister was.
"I am sure that there are people in community asking why didn’t you put 10 other people to talk about this, but unfortunately, that is not what is at trial here,” said Haffar.
The State can still call witnesses after the defense's case and Haffar says the fact the defense won’t begin its case until Monday could be a good thing for prosecutors since the last thing the jury saw were Jefferson’s pictures smiling and enjoying life.
“That emotional ending with State’s case is going to sit well with jury for a few days until they hear from the defense and that could be very impactful,” said Haffar.