Non-unanimous verdict leads to new trial for Errol Victor

Published 12:53 pm Monday, July 11, 2022

EDGARD — Jury selection was scheduled to begin July 11 for the new trial of Errol Victor Sr., a St. John the Baptist Parish man who was found guilty of second-degree murder for the death of his stepson, M.L. Lloyd III.

M.L. was pronounced dead at River Parishes Hospital at the age of 8 on April 1, 2008.

Victor was found guilty of second-degree murder by a non-unanimous jury in August 2014 after authorities testified that M.L. had been severely beaten before he was taken to the hospital. M.L.’s mother, Tonya Victor, was found guilty of manslaughter.

Victor was sentenced in September 2014 to life in prison without parole, while his wife was sentenced to 21 years with eligibility for parole after 11 years.

In 2020, the Supreme Court ruled in Ramos v. Louisiana that the Sixth Amendment requires a unanimous verdict to convict a defendant in a criminal trial. At the time of the decision, Louisiana and Oregon were the only two states that did not already require unanimous verdicts for criminal convictions.

The decision presented the question of retroactivity for previous non-unanimous convictions. Victor’s case was remanded for consideration due to the fact that he was found guilty of second-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison on an unconstitutional 10-2 verdict.

The new trial will take place in Division B of the 40th Judicial District Court in Edgard with the Honorable Dennis Waldron presiding.

Prior to M.L.’s death, the Victors resided in Reserve as a blended family of 15, including Victor’s six sons from his previous marriage to his wife who passed away from cancer, Tonya Victor’s five sons from previous relationships, and two sons born from their union.

In a petition to the Supreme Court in 2019, Victor stated that M.L.’s breathing became shallow and he was “lethargic but conscious” after being spanked by Tonya Victor after an incident of disobedience. Victor stated that he was called home from work to respond to the medical emergency, and M.L. fainted before he was rushed to the emergency room and pronounced dead.

The Victors denied all accusations of abuse, stating the child’s death was a result of a severe asthma attack.

The couple drew national attention in 2011 after failing to show up for a pre-trial court appearance while free on bond.

They were arrested shortly after being featured on America’s Most Wanted in 2012, when tipsters in Georgia called the show’s hotline with information regarding the couple’s whereabouts. Victor’s supporters say the show unfairly aired an alleged re-enactment of the Victors beating M.L. despite the fact that they had not been tried or convicted at the time.

Victor made headlines again in 2021 when he ran for Congress from his jail cell while awaiting a new trial.

More information will be shared as the trial progresses.

— Brooke R. Cantrelle contributed to this report.