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Atatiana Jefferson’s 11-year-old nephew testifies at cop’s murder trial

Atatiana Jefferson’s young nephew testified that he thought he was dreaming when his aunt fell to the floor after being shot by a cop through a bedroom window of her Texas home.

“I was thinking is it a dream,” Zion Carr said Monday in a cracking voice. “She cried and trembled.”

Carr, now 11, who was playing video games with his aunt that night in October 2019, told the court that the doors to her home were left open as they tried to clear smoke after cooking burgers.

A concerned neighbor saw the open door and called for a welfare check, leading to the tragic shooting.

Jefferson, 28, was holding a gun as she went to investigate a noise but never raised it to point at the police officer who fatally shot her through the window, her cousin testified on the stand Monday.

Defense attorneys claimed the child said otherwise immediately after the shooting.

The child’s testimony touched on an issue central to the long-delayed case that charged Aaron Dean with Jefferson’s murder: whether the Fort Worth police officer had seen Jefferson’s gun before he shot her.

Zion Carr, 11, The Cousin Of Atatiana Jefferson, Testified Monday At The Murder Trial Of Former Fort Worth Police Officer Aaron Dean That He Thought He Was Dreaming When His Aunt Fell To The Floor After Being Shot Through The Window Of Her Texas Home

Zion Carr, 11, the cousin of Atatiana Jefferson, testified Monday at the murder trial of former Fort Worth police officer Aaron Dean that he thought he was dreaming when his aunt fell to the floor after being shot through the window of her Texas home

Atatiana Jefferson, 28, Held A Gun As She Went To Investigate A Noise But Never Raised It To Point At The Police Officer Who Fatally Shot Her Through The Window, Her Cousin Said

Atatiana Jefferson, 28, Held A Gun As She Went To Investigate A Noise But Never Raised It To Point At The Police Officer Who Fatally Shot Her Through The Window, Her Cousin Said

Atatiana Jefferson, 28, held a gun as she went to investigate a noise but never raised it to point at the police officer who fatally shot her through the window, her cousin said

Atatiana Jefferson, 28, Held A Gun As She Went To Investigate A Noise But Never Raised It To Point At The Police Officer Who Fatally Shot Her Through The Window, Her Cousin Said

Atatiana Jefferson, 28, Held A Gun As She Went To Investigate A Noise But Never Raised It To Point At The Police Officer Who Fatally Shot Her Through The Window, Her Cousin Said

Atatiana Jefferson, 28, held a gun as she went to investigate a noise but never raised it to point at the police officer who fatally shot her through the window, her cousin said

The high-profile story of Jefferson’s death garnered national attention and sparked protests against police brutality across North Texas.

Dean quit and was charged with murder two days after killing the 28-year-old while responding to a call about an open front door on Oct. 12, 2019.

Body camera footage showed that neither Dean nor the other responding officer identified themselves as police in the home.

Dean’s attorney, Miles Brissette, said the officer opened fire after seeing Jefferson’s silhouette with a gun in the window and a green laser pointing at him. Prosecutors told jurors the evidence would prove otherwise.

That night, Jefferson played video games with her cousin, Zion Carr, who told a court Monday that his aunt pulled a gun after hearing suspicious noises behind the house.

Carr, then 8, said the gun was only pointed “down,” but he acknowledged that he couldn’t remember parts of what happened.

“She just held it to her side, she just liked to hold it, she didn’t point it up, she just held it to her side,” he told prosecutors, who said the child previously said his aunt had pulled the gun up ‘a little.’

Carr added that he didn’t look up from his Nintendo Switch because she said the sound might just be a raccoon.

Seconds later, she fell to the ground and cried and trembled, her cousin said.

When officers arrived on the scene and took Carr to the squad car, the boy, wearing only his underwear, said he was cold and confused about what was going on.

“She started crying and then two police officers came and got me,” Carr said. “I thought ‘Is it a dream?'”

He said an officer gave him a shirt and he fell asleep in the police car. When he woke up at a different location, he said he was asked questions about the shooting.

At that point, he still didn’t know if his aunt was okay, he said.

“I wasn’t upset, I was confused because I didn’t know if… it was a dream and I still didn’t wake up.”

Former Fort Worth Police Officer Aaron Dean Attends The First Day Of His Murder Trial On Monday, December 5, 2022 In Fort Worth, Texas.  Dean Is Accused Of Fatally Shooting Atatiana Jefferson In 2019 During A Police Call.  (Amanda Mccoy/Star-Telegram Via Ap, Pool)

Former Fort Worth Police Officer Aaron Dean Attends The First Day Of His Murder Trial On Monday, December 5, 2022 In Fort Worth, Texas.  Dean Is Accused Of Fatally Shooting Atatiana Jefferson In 2019 During A Police Call.  (Amanda Mccoy/Star-Telegram Via Ap, Pool)

Former Fort Worth Police Officer Aaron Dean attends the first day of his murder trial on Monday, December 5, 2022 in Fort Worth, Texas. Dean is accused of fatally shooting Atatiana Jefferson in 2019 during a police call. (Amanda McCoy/Star-Telegram via AP, Pool)

In The Photo: Atatiana Jefferson

In The Photo: Atatiana Jefferson

Pictured: Aaron Dean

Pictured: Aaron Dean

Dean (right), who has pleaded not guilty, has been released on $200,000 bail. Now 38, he is charged with killing Jefferson (left) after a neighbor called a non-emergency police line to report that the front door of Jefferson’s home was open

During cross-examination in the crowded courtroom, Dean’s defense said Carr told a specialist interviewer in a taped session after the shooting that Jefferson had raised the gun. The child denied this.

In 2019, the case was unusual due to the relative speed with which, amid public outcry, Fort Worth Police released the video and arrested Dean. It’s been like that ever since postponed again and again amid legal wrangling, the terminal illness of Dean’s lead attorney, and the COVID-19 pandemic.

In contrast, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin went on trial and was convicted of the murder of George Floyd over 1 1/2 years ago. Floyd was killed seven months after Jefferson, in a case that sparked global protests over racial injustice.

Dean, who has pleaded not guilty, has been released on $200,000 bail. Now 38, he is accused of killing Jefferson after a neighbor called a police line to report that the front door of Jefferson’s home was open.

Bodycam video showed Dean approaching the door of the home where Jefferson was caring for her nephew.

He then walked around the side of the house, pushed through a gate into the fenced-in backyard, and shot through the glass a split second after yelling at Jefferson, who was inside, to show her hands.

Released Body Camera Footage Showed Dean Walking Through Jefferson'S Backyard Before Opening Fire In A Window (Pictured)

Released Body Camera Footage Showed Dean Walking Through Jefferson'S Backyard Before Opening Fire In A Window (Pictured)

Released body camera footage showed Dean walking through Jefferson’s backyard before opening fire in a window (pictured)

Assistant District Attorney Ashlea Deener said during opening statements that Jefferson believed the officers were intruders. Dean opened fire without giving her time to follow orders and never said he saw a gun, Deener said, adding “the evidence will support, he didn’t see the gun in her hands.”

The front and side doors of the house were open to vent smoke from hamburgers that Carr said he burned while cooking with Jefferson. The child later recalled that his aunt fell to the floor crying and trembling.

“I thought, is it a dream?” he said.

At one point, District Judge George Gallagher stopped Zion’s testimony and asked a woman to leave the courtroom, saying she had given birth to the child.

Brissette argued that the officers were following protocol by treating the call as a possible burglary. He said they saw a living room that appeared to be “ransacked” and circled the house looking for signs of a break-in. Brissette said evidence would show the officer’s actions were reasonable and the shooting was “a tragic accident.”

Jefferson’s murder shattered the trust police had been trying to build with communities of color in Fort Worth, about 30 miles west of Dallas. The city of 935,000 has long had complaints about racially unequal policing and excessive force.

In The Photo: Atatiana Jefferson

In The Photo: Atatiana Jefferson

In The Photo: Atatiana Jefferson

In The Photo: Atatiana Jefferson

Atatiana Jefferson (left and right) was babysitting her eight-year-old nephew when officers arrived at her home and reportedly failed to identify themselves

Carol Harrison-Lafayette Protests The Police Shooting Of Atatiana Jefferson At A Community Vigil For Jefferson On Sunday, October 13, 2019

Carol Harrison-Lafayette Protests The Police Shooting Of Atatiana Jefferson At A Community Vigil For Jefferson On Sunday, October 13, 2019

Carol Harrison-Lafayette protests the police shooting of Atatiana Jefferson at a community vigil for Jefferson on Sunday, October 13, 2019

Hundreds Of Mourners Attended Jefferson'S Funeral, Including The Mayor Of Fort Worth And The Interim Police Chief In Dallas

Hundreds Of Mourners Attended Jefferson'S Funeral, Including The Mayor Of Fort Worth And The Interim Police Chief In Dallas

Hundreds of mourners attended Jefferson’s funeral, including the mayor of Fort Worth and the interim police chief in Dallas

The shooting quickly drew rebuke from the then police chief and the Republican mayor, who at the time called the circumstances “unthinkable” and said Jefferson carried a gun ‘irrelevant.’

Dean’s legal team repeatedly used those comments to try to move the case out of Fort Worth, claiming that the statements and news media attention would influence the jury.

Gallagher again denied their request on Monday before the jury of eight men and six women entered. The judge ended the opening day of the trial by noon for the funeral of attorney Jim Lane, who had been Dean’s lead attorney.

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Jacky

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