DALLAS – A jury has its first day of deliberations Monday in the trial of a white former Texas police officer charged with the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager leaving a house party last year.
Roy Oliver was fired from the Balch Springs Police Department days after he shot in a moving car filled with five black teenagers, killing 15-year-old Jordan Edwards. A Dallas County jury deliberated for eight hours Monday after prosecutors and defense attorneys gave closing arguments. Jurors will resume their work Tuesday morning.
Oliver is on trial for murder and two counts of aggravated assault in the April 2017 shooting. The jury could also find him guilty of manslaughter, said the prosecutors.
Oliver the stand last week, testified in his own defense, that he decided to fire on the car when he saw it moving in the direction of his partner, Director Tyler Gross. Oliver testified he thought Gross was in danger.
But Gross previously told jurors he never felt the need to shoot and not fear for his life. Gross also said that he did not feel that the car tried to hit him.
Two teenagers who at the party testified that they the other side of the street when Oliver opened fire. Eric Knight and Jeremy Seaton said that they could not see a justification for the shooting. Seaton said the car was not in the direction of an officer at the time and had been sent to the wrong lane of traffic to avoid officials.
During closing arguments, defense attorneys told jurors they must consider the circumstances of Oliver’s position and what the former officer knew at the time. Prosecutors described Edwards as an innocent boy who did nothing wrong and argued that Oliver was out of hand and looking for a reason to kill.