Murder trial for ex-Balch Springs officer set to begin this week

Attorneys for a former police officer charged with killing a teenager in Balch Springs were back in court Tuesday morning.

Roy Oliver’s trial is set to begin this week. First, his defense attorneys were trying to get the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office removed from the case.

The ex-officer is charged with murder and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon for the death of 15-year-old Jordan Edwards. Edwards was shot when Oliver fired into a car as it was driving away from a party.

Oliver’s attorneys already unsuccessfully tried to have the trial moved out of Dallas County because of the publicity surrounding the case. This time, they were hoping that Judge Brandon Birmingham would order the DA’s office will recuse itself from the case altogether.

“We're shocked by the charges, and we're also shocked by the way the charges have been brought against Mr. Oliver,” said defense attorney Bob Gill.

Oliver’s attorneys claimed that the DA improperly and unlawfully obtained information that was protected.

They said a statement he made hours after the shooting was meant only for the police internal affairs investigation and not the criminal investigation. They argued the statement was supposed to be kept private to determine if disciplinary action would be necessary within the department.

“You can’t un-ring that bell. That office (DA) is unable constitutionally to proceed with this prosecution,” Gill said.

Judge Birmingham denied the motion, as well as another motion for a continuance.

“Those things have infected the jury box,” Gill said. “And we don’t believe we can get a fair trial here in Dallas County because of that.”

Monique Arredondo ran into Oliver's vehicle on April 16 while driving without a license. She testified that Oliver came to her vehicle pointing his weapon at her.

“I mean it was faced straight at me… at my head,” she said.

Arredondo sister, Ashley Cuevas also testified as the state hoped to get in evidence other bad acts allegedly by Oliver

“He could have shot my sister or even myself,” Cuevas said.

However, the judge agreed to the third motion which stops the state from introducing evidence from the car accident with Arredondo. Oliver was off-duty at the time he allegedly pointed a gun at the other driver.

The state wanted to use testimony to show Oliver’s character but the judge said no. He could possibly allow it during the punishment phase if there’s a conviction.

“He didn't know how that car was occupied and by whom,” Gill said. “All he knew is that a vehicle is a deadly weapon and his partner was in danger because of that deadly weapon.”

Gill’s comments were hard to hear for the Edwards family’s civil attorney, Daryl K. Washington.

“Just to hear this attorney make this comment is more reason why this problem persists throughout the United States,” Washington said. “It’s serious denial.”

Opening statements are set to begin Thursday morning unless there are any last-minute motions.