The mother of a former Dallas white policeman convicted of murder for shooting an unarmed black teenager last year wants the jurors to consider an indulgent sentence for the sake of the ex-policeman's son.
Roy Oliver, who was fired from the Balch Springs Police Department after the shooting in April 2017, was convicted Tuesday for firing his rifle at a car and killing Jordan Edwards, 15.
Edwards, his brother and some friends were leaving a party at the house that was closed by officers when the shooting occurred.
During the judgment phase of Oliver's trial, her mother burst into tears as she pleaded with the jury to give Oliver a slight prison sentence.
"I ask you to keep several things in mind," Linda Oliver said Wednesday, according to Fox4. "First, he's a wonderful father. … He is a good person. Next, I would ask you to consider (Oliver's wife) Ingrid, of course, I'll put myself there too, but consider your son.
Wendy Oliver cried when she asked the jury to consider giving Roy Oliver a slight prison sentence
Linda testified that her son is a "good person" and a "wonderful father" and needs to be there for her young son.
Roy Oliver's mother (pictured) said he is a good man and wants the jury to grant him an indulgent sentence after being convicted of murder for the death in 2017 of Jordan Edwards, 15.
Edwards' stepmother previously told the court that he was a studious boy who was getting A and B grades before being killed (the teenager appears in the picture with Father Odell Edwards, on the right)
She added: "My son grew up with a father in prison … and I know how difficult it is to be a single mother."
During the sentence, Linda was asked about Edwards' parents who had never seen their son have children.
"I agree that they have been stripped of the privilege, I agree with that, but did my son strip them? I think it was a terrible set of circumstances that robbed them," he said.
Before Linda left the stand, she was also asked if Oliver's son would visit him in prison and was reminded that Edwards' parents will never see him again.
I accept it. I think we both live our own version of hell, "he said.
Oliver's wife also testified and broke down crying on the stand. Through a Spanish translator, she said she never saw her husband "sad, violent or bad".
Wendy Oliver, the sister of the convicted murderer, also testified and admitted in court that she called her brother & # 39; trash & # 39; in a Facebook message to Edwards' mother.
"I sent him a message that he expected justice to be done in this case and he gets what he deserves because he took an innocent life and I feel sorry for what he has done to this boy." she said.
Wendy also said that she believes that, given the circumstances, her brother should receive the maximum sentence, which is life imprisonment.
Although Oliver, 38, was convicted of murder, he was not convicted on two counts of aggravated assault for firing his rifle at the car full of teenagers.
Oliver testified during the trial that he opened fire after seeing the car move towards his partner, Officer Tyler Gross. He said he thought Gross was in danger.
Gross told the jury that he did not fear for his life and that he never felt the need to fire his weapon.
Ingrid Oliver, wife of Roy Oliver, broke on the stand saying that she had never seen him "sad, violent or evil". Ingrid is portrayed during her trial on August 28
Edwards (pictured when he was younger) was sitting in the front seat of the passenger and trying to leave the party with his brother when Oliver shot him in the head.
Odell Edwards and Charmaine Edwards, parents of Jordan Edwards, react to a guilty verdict of murder during a trial against the dismissed Balch Springs police officer Roy Oliver
The teenager's father, Ordell Edwards (pictured right) and other family members, said: "It has been a long, difficult year and we are very happy."
The Dallas County jury deliberated for about 12 hours over a two-day period before deciding a verdict, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Edwards' family applauded and cheered after the verdict was read.
"It's been a long, difficult year, and we're really happy," said Odell Edwards, Jordan's father. & # 39; We did it. & # 39;
Oliver was immediately arrested and his bond was revoked.
The jury will now hear the testimony of the family, friends and teachers of the murdered teenager before determining Oliver's sentence.
Tuesday's conviction was the first time in more than 40 years since a police officer in service has been convicted of killing someone in a gunfight in Texas.
& # 39; It's about Tamir Rice. It's about Walter Scott. This is Alton Sterling, said Edwards' lawyer, Daryl Washington, after reading the verdict, naming other men who had been killed by officers across the United States.
"It's about every unarmed African American, who has been murdered and who has not received justice."
The death of Edwards launched the residential neighborhood of Balch Springs, Dallas, in a national conversation on issues related to the application of law and race.
Experts said before the trial that getting convictions against an officer was challenging, in part because criminal guilt in service shootings is subjective and juries are more inclined to believe police testimony.
In the final arguments, the defense lawyers told the jury that they needed to assess the circumstances from Oliver's point of view and what the former officer knew at the time.
But prosecutors described Oliver as out of control and looking for a reason to kill. They argued that his shot at the car was not reasonable.
The shooting came after Oliver and Gross broke a big party after a report of underage drinking.
Both officers were inside the residence when they heard shots outside and responded.
Authorities later determined that the shots were fired near a nursing home in the area.
Oliver faces life in prison. He testified during his trial that he thought his partner was in danger when he opened fire on the car.
Oliver was fired from the Balch Springs Police Department after the shooting in April 2017. He appears in court on Tuesday
Physical Evidence Detective Garrick Whaley of the Dallas County Sheriff's Department shows jurors the Roy Oliver rifle used
Oliver retrieved his rifle and went to Gross, who ordered the car with Edwards to stop. He stated that his partner had a sense of urgency in his voice.
The former officer testified that he saw the car retreat and stop for a second before moving on and heading towards Gross.
He said he saw movement from the silhouette of a passenger inside the vehicle, and thought that Gross had found a shooter or shooters or at least some information about the shots.
Oliver said that a vehicle can be considered a deadly weapon, so he had no choice but to shoot his rifle.
Gross, however, testified that he did not feel the vehicle attempt to hit him.
During his testimony, Oliver said he was "very disgusting" when he realized that he had killed the child. "I was in shock for days," he said.
Two teenagers who attended the party testified last week that they were crossing the street when Oliver fired.
The teenagers, Eric Knight and Jeremy Seaton, said they could not see a justification for the shooting.
Seaton said the car was not facing an officer at the time and had headed to the wrong lane of traffic to avoid the officers.
Prosecutors said the five shots were fired by Oliver after the car passed through Gross. The investigators also said that no weapons were found in the teenagers' vehicle.
Images from the body camera shown during the trial showed that Edwards' brother and his friends were putting their hands outside the windows of the car after he was shot.
Officer Jeremy Chamblee testified that the teenagers were begging & # 39; Help after Jordan's death.
"I specifically heard the driver saying he needed help because a police officer shot his brother in the car," Chamblee said.
Chamblee also revealed that Jordan's brother asked if they could pray together after the teen's death.
"He was asking God to watch over his brother if he could not, to keep him safe," Chamblee recalled.
Philip Hayden, an expert in the use of force called by the prosecution, said that Oliver used excessive force when he shot and killed Edwards and testified that a reasonable officer would not have opened fire.
Oliver also testified that the shooting could have been avoided if one of the passers-by had greeted him and informed that the shooters near the nursing home had left the scene.
"It would have changed the result," he said.