Victors want local judges off case

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 12, 2010



LAPLACE – The state Supreme Court has appointed an ad hoc judge to hear a recusal request to remove all three St. John the Baptist Parish judges from a case involving a Reserve couple accused of murdering their 8-year-old son.

According to the state Attorney General’s Office, Retired First Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Frank Foil will decide whether St. John Parish District Court Judges Mary Hotard Becnel, Madeline Jasmine and J. Sterling Snowdy should be taken off all civil and criminal cases pertaining to Errol Victor Sr. and his wife, Tonya Victor. The couple were indicted in April and charged with murder in connection with the death of M.L. Lloyd III.

The Attorney General’s office is handling prosecution following recusal of the St. John District Attorney Tom Daley’s office last year after an attorney for Errol Victor raised the possibility of a conflict of interest with an assistant district attorney, who had represented Errol Victor in a prior business matter.

According to reports from the St. John Sheriff’s Office, M.L. 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. The police report said the boy was unresponsive when the family arrived and was later pronounced dead.

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.

The couple were scheduled to make a court appearance May 17 to enter a plea to the charge but instead filed the recusal request May 12 prior to a scheduled civil hearing in Snowdy’s court regarding the Victors’ minor children, said Tomy Acosta, the court appointed attorney for Tonya Victor in the criminal case.

The civil case pertains to a custody battle over several of the Victors’ young children, who were taken from the home and placed in state custody following Lloyd’s death.

In response to the Victors’ recusal order, Becnel, Jasmine and Snowdy issued an “en banc order” asking for a judge to hear the petition. Foil will hear the request on July 1 at a hearing at the St. John Parish Courthouse in Edgard starting at 10 a.m., according to the Attorney General’s Office. The judges’ order has frozen all criminal and civil court proceedings in the Victors’ cases.

Errol and Tonya Victor both remain jailed in LaPlace in lieu of $1 million bail each set by Becnel in April.