Grand jury reindicts Victor family

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 14, 2010



LAPLACE – A St. John the Baptist Parish grand jury has again indicted Errol and Tonya Victor on second-degree murder charges in connection with the death of their 8-year-old son, M.L. Lloyd III.

The new charges came Monday, just two months after District Judge Madeline Jasmine ruled that a previous indictment against the Victors was invalid because a member of the St. John Parish Sheriff’s Office seved on the jury and wore a shirt advertising his employment with the force.

Monday’s indictment gives the case a new case number and a new judge. The case against the Victors will now be heard by Judge Mary Hotard Becnel.

Julie Cullen, an assistant state attorney general who is handling the case, said Monday her office decided to go before a new grand jury in an effort to avoid a potentially lengthy appeal process to try and overrule Jasmine’s decision to throw out the previous indictment. She said it is being handled as a completely new case and that the prosecution is essentially starting from scratch.

Monday’s grand jury was a completely new panel, and none of the members were on any previous grand jury involving the Victor case, Cullen said. No new arraignment date has been set for the Victors, who are both free on bond.

The Victors had originally been charged with first-degree murder in April 2008 in the days following Lloyd’s death. Those charges were downgraded to second-degree murder in the second indictment, which was thrown out by Jasmine in February.

Lloyd died April 1, 2008, after he was taken to River Parishes Hospital in LaPlace by Errol Victor, Tonya Victor, and Lloyd’s stepbrother, Errol Victor Jr. 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.

Sheriff’s investigators and state prosecutors have said Lloyd died after being severly whipped and beaten at home by his parents. The family has vehemently denied the accusations.

Errol Victor Jr. had been named in the initial indictment as an accessory after the fact to murder, but he was not listed on any subsequentState appealed indictments.