DALLAS - The trial for the former Balch Springs police officer who is accused of murdering a 15-year-old Jordan Edwards has been delayed.
A judge agreed to push it back to August 20 because a member of Roy Oliver’s defense team needs back surgery. Jury selection will begin in June.
Jordan’s family says it’s terrible and a disappointment that the trial has been delayed a second time. But Oliver's defense team says the continuance is needed because the lead attorney is having reconstructive back surgery. They say going to trial without him would not be fair to the defendant.
Oliver was indicted on one count of murder and four counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon by a public servant because of what happened while he was on duty on April 29, 2017.
He was one of the officers responding to a call about a loud party. Edwards was in a vehicle with his brother and two other teenagers leaving the party. Police said the car was driving away from the officers when Oliver fired a rifle into the vehicle and killed Jordan. No drugs, alcohol or weapons were found. The Balch Springs Police Department later fired Oliver.
The delay requested during court on Thursday was for Oliver's lead attorney, Jim Lane. Court documents say that Lane “is scheduled for surgery during the week of April 30, 2018, and will be unable to participate in these cases for approximately two months."
This would be the second continuance for Oliver’s trial. Two-thirds of his defense team argued in their motion before Judge Brandon Birmingham that "Mr. Lane's continued participation as lead counsel is necessary to provide effective assistance of counsel. Requiring defendant to proceed without Mr. Lane would deprive him of counsel of his choosing.”
Judge Birmingham granted the motion.
Prosecutor Mike Snipes said he understands the judge’s decision but is still concerned about getting justice.
“He felt like it was necessary to ensure that the defendant’s right to counsel was honored,” Snipes said. “My concern is, of course, getting justice for Jordan Edwards and for his family.”
The Edwards will now have to wait until August for what was supposed to happen next month.
“Needless to say we are very disappointed about this because there are a number of things are going on. The kids are having to live this over and over again,” said Daryl Washington, an attorney for the Edwards family. “Each continuance means opening and having to close a wound. The family is having to go through this and it’s just been very difficult.”
Charmain Edwards said she is disappointed that she’ll have to wait even longer for justice for her son.
“I’m not happy at all,” she said.
While the trial has been delayed, the process continues. Jury selection will begin on June 15.
Oliver also faces two more counts of aggravated assault from an incident weeks before the shooting took place.