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Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Funeral service for Atatiana Jefferson canceled in family legal squabble

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DALLAS (AP) — A service for a woman shot in her home by a Fort Worth police officer that had been scheduled for Saturday was canceled amid a family dispute over funeral arrangements.

Atatiana Jefferson’s funeral had been set to be held at Potter’s House Church in Dallas. Church representative Mara Silverio said the service hasn’t been rescheduled, but that no events would be held for her Saturday.

The news follows a judge’s decision Friday to issue a temporary restraining order sought by Marquis Jefferson, the father of Atatiana Jefferson. The father sought the order to gain control over the funeral arrangements of his daughter from his daughter’s aunt, Bonita Body.

Lee Merritt, Body’s attorney, had said on Facebook that a “celebration of life” would proceed Saturday, but he later tweeted that the funeral had been “postponed” and that “updated information concerning the reschedule will be provided as soon as it becomes available.”

Merritt didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking additional information.

The Rev. Al Sharpton had been set to deliver remarks at Saturday’s service.

Marquis Jefferson argued that he had been denied any involvement in the funeral planning by the mortuary Body had engaged. He said that as his daughter’s sole legal heir, the duty of arranging the funeral is his.

Dallas County Probate Court Judge Brenda Hull Thompson scheduled a hearing for Monday morning to determine whether the restraining order should continue.

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