Errol Victor convicted again for the 2008 death of his 8-year-old stepson

Published 6:02 pm Wednesday, July 20, 2022

EDGARD — A St. John the Baptist Parish jury deliberated for just over 90 minutes Wednesday afternoon before finding Errol Victor Sr. guilty as charged for the second-degree murder of his 8-year-old stepson, M.L. Lloyd Jr., in 2008.

Victor’s second trial began July 11 at the Edgard Courthouse. In August 2014, he was convicted of second-degree murder for M.L.’s death on a non-unanimous 10-2 verdict. Six years later, the Supreme Court ruled in Ramos v. Louisiana that the Sixth Amendment requires a unanimous verdict to convict a defendant in a criminal trial.

The decision presented the question of retroactivity for previous non-unanimous convictions in Louisiana, including Victor’s 2014 conviction.

The Honorable Dennis Waldron presided over Victor’s new trial in the 40th Judicial District Court.

The Attorney General’s Office argued that M.L. had been severely beaten by Victor before he was pronounced deceased at River Parishes Hospital on April 1, 2008.

“He’s guilty of second-degree murder no matter how you look at the statute,” Attorney John Russel said Wednesday, adding, “At some point after you whip a kid for hours, you are intentionally inflicting bodily harm.”

“(Victor) is not an incapable man, but he committed a terrible, terrible deed, whether intentionally or accidentally…he whipped M.L. until that little boy died,” Russel said.

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, Tonya Victor’s five sons from previous relationships, and two sons born from their union.

Several of the boys, now young men, testified over the course of the trial. Victor’s stepsons said Victor disciplined several of the children on March 31, 2008 after an ice cream was discovered to be missing from the freezer.

According to the prosecution, M.L. was beaten for several hours between March 31 and April 1, 2008, when he succumbed to his injuries. According to testimony, M.L. was lethargic and had white drool coming from his mouth. He was given ice and Pedialyte before being rushed to the hospital, where doctors observed parallel marks on his body and a large, confluent bruise that encompassed most of his back.

The defense argued that there could be several explanations for the marks on M.L.’s body and his lethargic state, including but not limited to a reaction from a snake bite. M.L.’s autopsy noted the presence of what appeared to be a partial bite mark.

Sheriff’s deputies were reported to have visited a funeral home to take photos of the injuries and swabs of the bite mark following M.L.’s death, but the results were not released.

According to the defense, the autopsy report also acknowledged the large, confluent bruise on M.L.’s back and noted there were “no associated other signs of impact injury.”

Errol Victor’s son and his wife, Tonya Victor, supported Victor’s innocence. Tonya Victor testified that she disciplined M.L. before his passing in 2008, but her husband did not. Victor’s son said he saw no physical attack on M.L.’s body.

The defense also pointed to a lack of physical evidence of the beating.

Errol and Tonya Victor drew national attention back 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.

Tonya Victor was found guilty of manslaughter in 2014.

Now that he has been convicted of second-degree murder by a unanimous jury, Errol Victor is once again facing a life sentence without the benefit of probation, parole or suspension of sentence.

Sentencing will take place at 10 a.m. Tuesday, July 26 in the Edgard Courthouse.

Attorney General Jeff Landry issued the following statement Wednesday evening:

“This afternoon, justice was served to Errol Victor by a jury of his peers in St. John. I pray his conviction provides some healing and closure to the victim’s family.

“This jury’s verdict is the culmination of an exceptional prosecution by my Assistant Attorneys General John Russel, Daniel Smart, Ben Wallace, and Grant Willis. I thank them and Lillie Blackmon, Kristen Martin, Andrew Bergeron, and Chris Ribera from my office for their great work to get justice.

“Today further intensifies my commitment to do all we can to make Louisiana a safer place to live, work, worship and raise families.”