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Sunday, March 7, 2021

Jury to resume deliberating in ex-Balch Springs officer’s murder trial

DALLAS (AP) — A jury completed its first day of deliberations Monday in the trial of a white former Texas police officer charged with fatally shooting an unarmed black teenager leaving a house party last year.

Roy Oliver was fired from the Balch Springs Police Department days after he shot into a moving car filled with five black teens, killing 15-year-old Jordan Edwards. A Dallas County jury deliberated for eight hours Monday after prosecutors and defense attorneys gave closing arguments. Jurors will resume their work Tuesday morning.

Oliver is on trial for murder and two counts of aggravated assault in the April 2017 shooting. The jury could also find him guilty of manslaughter, according to prosecutors.

Oliver took the stand last week and testified in his own defense, saying he decided to fire at the car when he saw it moving toward his partner, Officer Tyler Gross. Oliver testified he thought Gross was in danger.

But Gross previously told jurors he never felt the need to shoot and didn’t fear for his life. Gross also said he didn’t feel like the car was trying to hit him.

Two teens who were at the party testified that they were across the street when Oliver opened fire. Eric Knight and Jeremy Seaton said they could not see a justification for the shooting. Seaton said the car was not facing an officer at the time and had steered into the wrong lane of traffic to avoid officers.

During closing arguments, defense attorneys told jurors they must consider the circumstances from Oliver’s viewpoint and what the former officer knew at the time. Prosecutors described Edwards as an innocent kid who did nothing wrong and argued that Oliver was out of control and looking for a reason to kill.

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