Jefferson’s funeral had been scheduled to take place at The Potter’s House Church in Dallas on Saturday, and was expected to draw crowds of mourners, including the Rev. Al Sharpton, who had planned to speak.
The delay followed a Dallas judge’s order that Marquis Jefferson, who says he is Jefferson’s father, should have the “full authority” to make funeral and burial arrangements. The ruling from the judge, Brenda Hull Thompson, also included a restraining order keeping funeral home staff and Venitta Body, an aunt of Atatiana Jefferson, from making any arrangements without Marquis Jefferson’s approval.
Atatiana Jefferson’s family members have said that she had recently been living with and taking care of her mother, Yolanda Carr, whose health was declining. Marquis Jefferson is listed as Atatiana Jefferson’s father on a birth certificate that he filed with his petition to the court, but Body said at a news conference this week that Marquis Jefferson was not the biological father.
A hearing is scheduled for Monday in the case, according to court records.
Atatiana Jefferson’s viewing is now scheduled for Wednesday night at the Golden Gate Funeral Home in Dallas, and funeral services are planned for Thursday, said John Beckwith, the owner of the funeral home. A church has not yet been selected for the funeral, he said.
Beckwith said the plan was to have both the Carrs and the Jeffersons attend the services on Wednesday and Thursday. “We are bringing both families together,” he said.
Atatiana Jefferson, who was black, was killed early on the morning of Oct. 12 by a white Fort Worth police officer, Aaron Dean, who fired a single, fatal shot through her bedroom window without ever identifying himself as a police officer. He and another officer had responded to her home in southeast Fort Worth after a worried neighbor saw Jefferson’s doors open for hours and called a nonemergency line.
Dean has been charged with murder and the Fort Worth district attorney plans to seek a murder indictment from a grand jury.
The killing quickly reverberated around the country and was seen by many as yet another instance of a white police officer killing a black civilian who was minding her own business. Jefferson had been playing video games with her 8-year-old nephew when the police officers arrived at her home. The officer’s actions were widely criticized by residents and city leaders in Fort Worth.
On Friday night, mourners gathered at a smaller memorial service, including some who had never met Jefferson but felt compelled to be there.
Howard Young, a landscaper, said he had made the 30-mile trip from Fort Worth because he had been moved by Jefferson’s death and felt obliged to help. He offered to clean up the lawn of her home before grieving relatives and families stopped by.
“I want to make sure it looks presentable,” Young said.
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