Victor trial set for Jan. 14
Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 2, 2008
By ROBIN SHANNON
EDGARD — A new hearing date has been set for a Reserve man, his wife and his son, who are all allegedly involved in the death of the man’s 8-year-old stepson. Supporters claim the family has not been getting fair treatment by the St. John Parish court system.
District Court Judge A.J. Kling, who has taken over Judge Madeline Jasmine’s cases while she is working in the Fifth Circuit court, has set a January 14 court date for Errol Victor Sr., 42, his wife Tonya Victor, 33, and their son Errol Victor Jr., 24. The three were arrested in April in connection with the death of 8-year-old M. L. Lloyd III, a stepson of Errol Victor Sr.
According to a report from the St. John Sheriff’s Office, Lloyd was unresponsive when the family members brought him to the emergency room at River Parishes Hospital. Lloyd was pronounced dead by medical personnel. The three were arrested later that afternoon based on physical evidence of abuse found all over the child’s body by emergency room staff, as well as statements made by Errol Victor Sr. that he would “take responsibility for what happened.”
Errol Victor Sr. was charged with first-degree murder in the incident and has since been released after posting a percentage of a $2 million bond. Tonya Victor and Errol Victor Jr. were charged with accessory after the fact to first-degree murder and released on $25,000 bonds.
New Orleans Attorney Jason Rogers Williams has taken the case and said he will represent all three defendants throughout the proceedings. He said court strategy would determine whether the family would be tried together or separately. Williams staunchly defended his clients Monday.
“I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t believe in them,” said Williams. “We are going to fight this matter to the fullest. The evidence supports our case and I believe them.”
Meanwhile, family members and other supporters who rallied behind the family Monday say Errol Victor Sr. has not been fairly treated by the St. John Parish court system.
“As a group, we have come to set the record straight and defend Mr. Victor,” said Terry Sippio, president of a group known simply as ‘Justice for All.’ “A true injustice has been going on in St. John Parish for years, and it goes beyond ‘black and white.’”
Sippio, along with his wife Jaclyn, say that Errol Victor Sr. should not be facing a $2 million bond for first-degree murder because the state has no evidence that a capital offense had taken place. The couple cited a June 2 ruling by Judge Jasmine that states that the evidence does not show adequate proof that a capital offense has taken place.
“We want to see justice,” said Jaclyn Sippio, who is also Errol Victor Sr.’s sister. “If there is no evidence, why is there a bond on him? Why is he still pending in court?”
The Sippio’s also want to know why the eight other children living in the Victor home at the time of Lloyd’s death were sent to foster homes instead of to the boys’ grandmother. The state said the grandmother was too old to adequately care for the boys. The boys face a child services hearing scheduled for December 16.
“She’s in her 70s, but she is not too old to handle her grandchildren,” said Jaclyn Sippio. “That is really an injustice. Something is wrong with the whole system.”
Prosecutors argue that the bond should remain in place since the initial autopsy did reveal that the child did not die from a genetic defect and said photos from the examination showed physical evidence of a severe beating of the young child.
St. John Assistant District Attorney Barry Landry said the autopsy photos, shown at a bond hearing in June, depicted conclusive evidence of cruel treatment, which is grounds for first-degree murder. He said the severe beating, which Landry said Errol Victor instituted because the child had been caught stealing, might have caused the boy to go into shock.
Victor faces life in prison or a possible death sentence if convicted on first-degree murder charges.
Tonya Victor and Errol Victor Jr. face a maximum of five years in prison for the accessory charges. All three have entered pleas of not guilty.