DA Daley reverses position

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 27, 2009



EDGARD – St. John Parish District Attorney Tom Daley said in court Monday that his office would be removing itself as prosecutors in the case against a Reserve man who along with his wife is accused of killing his 8-year-old stepson.

In a court motion before District Judge Madeline Jasmine, Daley said the move to step down from the case was an effort “to avoid the appearance of impropriety.” He asked the state attorney general to move quickly to appoint new prosecution.

Public defense attorneys for the stepfather, Errol Victor Sr., 44, had asked for the recusal during an evidentiary hearing last Wednesday. Attorney’s argued an assistant district attorney, who had previously represented Victor in various business matters, creates a conflict of interest for the prosecution.

Assistant District Attorney Kerry Brown testified during that hearing he had represented Victor in business matters that date back as far as 2003. He said Victor would often engage in discussions regarding his discipline of his children. Brown said Victor had even showed him a hand-written discipline structure policy that was used to levy punishment.

Victor, who was originally charged with first-degree murder in the death of M.L. Lloyd III, was indicted Sept. 22 by a parish grand jury on the lesser charge of second-degree murder. Victor remains free after posting a $350,000 bond. His wife, Tonya Victor, 35, and eldest son, Errol Victor Jr., were also charged in connection with Lloyd’s death.

Brown told the court he never discussed the death of Lloyd with the family and had never reviewed any information in the district attorney’s case against the family. He did say, however, he had invited Tonya Victor into his home when she came to him over the summer. During that meeting Brown said Tonya Victor told him her husband did not hit their children, and he did not lay a hand on Lloyd before he died.

Daley had filed an objection to the recusal during last week’s hearing but reversed his position Monday. He said Brown’s testimony makes him a potential material witness for the state against Errol Victor based on information revealed about meetings Brown had with Victor.

“I think it was the right decision in this case,” said Assistant St. John Parish Public Defender Edward R. Greenlee, who is representing Errol Victor. “Employees of the district attorney’s office will be called as witnesses. The proper thing to do is to let the attorney general’s office handle it.”

In addition to signing off on the recusal, Jasmine also approved a reduction of Tonya Victor’s bond from $1 million to $350,000. As of Tuesday, Tonya Victor had not posted bond.

Lloyd died in April of last year after the Victors had taken him to River Parishes Hospital in LaPlace. According to reports from the Sheriff’s Office, the boy was unresponsive when the family arrived and was later pronounced dead. The family immediately fled the hospital after Lloyd was dropped off.

A coroner’s report indicated Lloyd suffered various bruises all across his body. The report said the bruises did not appear fatal, but the records show Lloyd might have been deceased two hours before he was taken to the hospital.

Pretrial motions in the case are scheduled for Nov. 12, and a trial date has been set for Jan. 4.