Errol, Tonya Victor murder trial begins

Published 9:51 am Thursday, July 24, 2014

From staff reports

EDGARD — Opening statements began Thursday afternoon in the second-degree murder trial of Errol Victor Sr. and Tonya Victor, charged in the death of M.L. Lloyd III.

Lloyd, who was Tonya’s son and Errol’s stepson, was pronounced dead at River Parishes Hospital in April 2008.

The Victors are representing themselves in 40th Judicial District Court in Edgard. The trial could take up to two weeks, authorities said.

Authorities say Lloyd was severely whipped and beaten before being taken to the hospital six years ago. The Victors, who were arrested shortly after Lloyd was brought to the hospital, have vehemently denied the accusations and have maintained their innocence, saying the child died as a result of a severe asthma attack.

During court proceedings this week, Errol Victor maintained Lloyd was disciplined on the day he died, but said the child’s death did not result from the reprimand.

Louisiana Attorney General’s Office representative Julie Cullen is serving as the case’s prosecutor.

She said eyewitnesses would speak to what caused Loyd’s death and in the process implicate Errol Victor Sr. and Tonya Victor as those responsible.

Stirring testimony and postmortem pictures from the hospital are expected to be introduced during trial.

The couple drew national acclaim in August 2011 when they failed to show up for a scheduled court appearance prior to their trial. Both were free on bond.

Authorities from the Sheriff’s Office made several attempts to locate and apprehend the Victors prior to the scheduled court date, including speaking to family members and searching the couple’s Reserve home on East 22nd Street.

The couple was featured on TV’s America’s Most Wanted, and authorities announced the Victors were arrested shortly after being profiled April 14, 2012.

Tipsters in Tifton, Ga., called the show hotline with information regarding the couple’s whereabouts.

During the August 2011 court hearing, Lionel Lon Burns — the Victors’ then attorney — said the only communication he had received from his clients was a “rambling” message regarding the hearing and upcoming trial. Burns said he had received no further contact from his clients.

Even getting to that point was somewhat of a roller-coaster ride for those involved. Since the start of legal proceedings, Errol Victor Sr. alleged numerous injustices by the court system all while maintaining his and his wife’s innocence.

The couple has been indicted on three separate occasions, the St. John the Baptist Parish District Attorney’s office has been recused from the case, and the judge hearing the case has also changed from Judge Madeline Jasmine to Judge Mary Hotard Becnel.

The Victors had 13 children — five from Tonya Victor and six from Errol Victor. Together, the couple had two children.