Emotions run high after Victors’ guilty verdicts

Published 3:58 pm Friday, August 1, 2014

By Monique Roth

EDGARD — “I feel wonderful. Justice has finally been served, and little M.L. is smiling down from heaven today.”

Those words from 8-year-old M.L. Lloyd III’s second cousin Brenda, who asked that her last name not be used, summed up many family members’ feelings about the guilty verdicts handed down Friday to Errol Victor Sr. and Tonya Victor.

Errol was found guilty of second-degree murder, and Tonya was found guilty of manslaughter in the April 2008 homicide of M.L.

“M.L.’s young brothers, who were made to watch him die, can finally put this behind them now,” Brenda said.

To people who supported the Victors, Brenda had harsher words.

“You saw the pictures, heard the truth and some of you even know the truth,” Brenda said. “I’d like to ask them the question, ‘What God do they serve?’ ”

Following the verdict, Errol continued to proclaim his faith, just as he did in many parts of the trial, as he left the courthouse shackled and hand-in-hand with Tonya.

“Praise the Lord,” Errol said. “God bless. Victory will be ours.”

Louisiana Attorney General’s Office attorney Julie Cullen served as the case’s prosecutor.

“Very satisfied,” Cullen said with a smile in the courthouse building when asked how she felt about the verdicts.

She said she “certainly understood” the jury convicting Tonya of manslaughter,

adding she was happy for M.L’s father and stepbrothers.

“No one gets closure in a case like this,” Cullen said. “But I’m sure they’re relieved this part is over.”

St. John the Baptist Parish District Attorney Tom Daley said “justice has been served” in the case “thanks to the hard work and dedication of the lawyers and staff in my office, along with the Attorney General’s Office and the St. John Sheriff’s Office, especially Assistant Attorney General Julie Cullen and along with the hard work and even handedness of Judge Mary Becnel and the local jury.

“For six years the Victors have attempted to make a mockery of the criminal justice system by delaying their trial, by hiring and firing 12 different lawyers and by jumping bail.”

One person who was not satisfied with the verdicts was Belinda Parker-Brown.

Brown, president and CEO of Louisiana United International, a Slidell-based civil rights group, said “the reasonable doubt was overwhelming” in the case.

She said the fact Cullen interrupted Errol six times during his defense was just one of the reasons the duo didn’t get a fair trial.

Brown said having M.L.’s father, M.L. Lloyd Jr., called to the stand by the prosecution was another unfair element of the trial.

“It was done to arouse emotions of the jury,” Brown said. “What did he have to do with it?”

The week-long trial was full of conflicting testimonies by stepbrothers, gruesome details of abuse and graphic postmortem photos of M.L.

The Victors represented themselves in 40th Judicial District Court in Edgard.

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.

The couple drew national attention 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.