FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) – A Texas judge again delayed the trial on Monday for the murder of a police officer who fatally shot a black woman through a window of his own home in Fort Worth in 2019.
State Administrative Judge George Gallagher adjourned Aaron Dean’s trial during a hearing on Monday until another judge ruled on a defense motion to challenge State District Judge David Hagerman. Hagerman declined to be challenged as judge presiding over the trial, which was scheduled to begin next week.
Dean is accused of killing Atatiana Jefferson, whom he shot dead in his home while responding to an October 2019 report on open doors. In court proceedings, his lawyers argued that Hagerman “became increasingly hostile, arrogant and rude” to them.
At a June 3 hearing, defense attorneys had sought a delay because senior attorney Jim Lane, who had been ill, and a key defense witness would not be available. Hagerman reviewed to follow the court rules and ordered the trial to continue, defense co-lawyers Miles Brissette and Bob Gill said in their motion for Gallagher to resolve the scheduling dispute. At Monday’s hearing, Gallagher said a hearing on the recusal motion could not be held until at least next week, forcing him to adjourn the trial from June 21.
At the June 3 hearing, Gill told Hagerman that he had sent a letter requesting a vacation for June 29 months earlier. Hagerman said he would not consider that issue. He and prosecutors said they canceled their vacation to prepare for Dean’s trial.
“You’re not going to dictate the schedule to this court, Mr. Gill,” Hagerman said.
Hagerman has issued a gag order preventing prosecutors and defense attorneys from speaking publicly about the case.
Jefferson was playing video games with his 8-year-old nephew when a neighbor called a non-emergency police line to report that the door to Jefferson’s home was ajar. Police said Dean opened fire from outside through a window after “perceiving a threat.”
The murder and the consequent delays weakened relations between the Fort Worth Police Department and the city’s black community.
Dean’s trial has been delayed for years as COVID-19 pandemic ground courts across the country are paralyzed. Hagerman denied a defense motion on May 4 to move the trial, then scheduled for May 16, to another council, arguing that media coverage of the case would make it impossible for an impartial jury to be elected. Hagerman granted a one-month postponement until June 21 due to Lane’s ill health.
The judge is again postponing the trial for the murder of a former Fort Worth police officer
Source link The judge is again postponing the trial for the murder of a former Fort Worth police officer