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Aaron Dean murder trial: Defense, prosecution rest; closing arguments set for Wednesday

Defense and prosecution rested, closed case on day 5 of Aaron Dean murder trial
Defense and prosecution rested, closed case on day 5 of Aaron Dean murder trial 02:39

FORT WORTH, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – A jury is expected to begin deliberating Wednesday in Fort Worth in the murder trial of former police officer Aaron Dean.

Both the prosecution and defense closed their cases Tuesday after five days of testimony. They each called experts in police procedure as their last witnesses, to either defend or condemn Dean's actions when he shot Atatiana Jefferson in 2019.

Judge George Gallagher and attorneys were finalizing jury instructions Tuesday afternoon. During jury selection Gallagher had told potential jurors he may consider a lesser included offense of manslaughter for them to consider but it wasn't clear at the end of the day if he would do that.

Each side will make a closing argument Wednesday before the jury leaves to deliberate.

Dr. Jay Coons

Dean's final defense witness Tuesday was Dr. Jay Coons, a former sheriff captain and criminologist at Sam Houston State University, who told the jury he thought Dean acted reasonably, given the circumstances. 

In reviewing the body camera video from Dean, Coons said he thought officers were methodical in their approach to the house, looking for signs of forced entry on a situation they thought could be a burglary in progress.

Once Dean found himself looking at a gun, held by someone in the house, Coons testified that officer training dictated what happened next.

"Really, as far at the training, as far as your options as a human being, it's down to one decision, one decision only," he said.

Prosecutor Dale Smith aggressively questioned Coons, often repeating questions multiple times trying to get a yes or no answer to questions such as, did any training manual prevent Dean from identifying himself before walking into the backyard of the house.

The state's witness, Jonathyn Priest, focused specifically on those actions at the front door. That was where he said Dean and Officer Carol Darch should have either called for backup, or announced themselves to anyone who was inside.

"Those are my two choices at that point," he said. "Walking around the house is not at the top of my consideration unless I have an emergency."

Priest avoided talking too much about Dean's actual decision to fire his gun at Jefferson, saying he didn't really know what the officer had seen.

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