FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) — Her name is on streets in Fort Worth, her pictures painted on walls, and on Monday, a jury will begin to determine if Atatiana Jefferson's death three years ago was murder by a police officer.
The decision Aaron Dean in that moment, and what the jury believes about it, will determine if he remains free or spends up to life in prison.
Dean's defense will likely include that he was sent to check an open building at 2:30 a.m. and saw someone pointing a gun at him.
The state is expected to argue Jefferson was protecting herself from someone outside who never announced he was an officer.
The jury of 12 making the decision will include two alternates. There are eight men and six women, and while some are jurors of color, there will be no Black jurors.
The incident sparked demonstrations when it happened, demands for change from some members of the community, and a police department review of use of force that was just completed this fall.
All the time that has passed though, experts told us, has likely allowed attorneys to sharpen their strategies heading into the opening of the trial.
"Maybe there's something relevant someone talked about in jury selection they can add to an opening statement, but they should have 99% of their preparation done at this point," said Lisa Herrick, a former prosecutor.
They're expected to take more than a week to present testimony and evidence before handing the case over to the jury for a verdict.
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