DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The jury that convicted of former Balch Springs police officer Roy Oliver of murder on Tuesday, sentenced him to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine in shooting death of 15-year-old Jordan Edwards.
Around 7:15 p.m. Wednesday, the jury sent out a note asking the judge what do they do if they can’t reach a verdict.READ MORE: Discover DFW: Log Cabin Village
The judge replied they have all the information they need to make a decision.
A little more than two hours later, they made their decision.
Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson said shortly after the sentence was announced, Oliver would begin serving his punishment immediately.
“We are very satisfied with the guilty verdict. We think this is historic,” she said.
Johnson said she had become close with the Edwards family and says she wished Oliver had gotten more time in prison but she respects the jury’s decision and is appreciative of the murder conviction.
An Edwards family spokesperson thanked the DA’s office for having “the courage to take on a bad police officer.” He said, “We would have liked a greater sentence but we respect the jury.”
Oliver faced five years to life in prison.
“Keep in mind, we love our police,” said Johnson. “However, we do not support bad apples and we say to people like a Roy Oliver, if you go out and hurt anybody, we’re going to prosecute people like that.”
Oliver’s legal team said they gave notice of appealing the verdict Wednesday night, suggesting there were errors in the trial.
Mothers Against Police Brutality released the following statement after the sentencing:READ MORE: Nicholas Nelson Headed To Federal Prison For Detonating Bomb Near Bedford Bridge
“The sentencing of Roy Oliver on a conviction of murder in the killing of Jordan Edwards should have been approached with the same seriousness as the guilt/innocence phase of the trial. Unfortunately, the sentence Oliver received is not at all commensurate with his crime.”
On Tuesday, after 13 hours of deliberations, the jury unanimously found Oliver guilty in the murder of Edwards.
During punishment phase testimony Wednesday, people who say they know Oliver best – co-workers and friends – painted a picture of a man who is well-loved and respected in the community.
About a half-a-dozen people who know Oliver are expected to testify.
Billie Gorwood, who once had Oliver as a tenant, begged the jury for leniency. “He wants to help and he wants to protect. And this tragedy has gone against everything, everything that Roy believes in.”
The teenager’s stepmother, Charmaine Edwards, took the stand after the verdict was read Tuesday. “It’s just trying to get through life without him now, and it’s hard because he had a promising future,” she said.
Jordan was an honor roll student and athlete who was nicknamed “Smiley.” It was in April of 2017 when the teenager was killed after Oliver fired five shots into the car he was riding in. One of those rounds struck Jordan in the head. He died at the scene.
During the trial, Oliver testified that he opened fire because he believed the car Jordan was riding in was a threat to his partner. But in addition to seeing body camera footage from the night of the shooting, jurors heard from Oliver’s partner, Tyler Gross, who said he never discharged his weapon because he never felt like he was in danger.
After the verdict the attorney representing the Edwards family, Daryl K. Washington, said, “This case is not just about Jordan [Edwards], it’s about Tamir Rice, it’s about Walter Scott, it’s about Alton Sterling. It’s about every, every African-American, unarmed African-American who has been killed and who has not gotten justice.”MORE NEWS: Many Haitian Migrants Make Their Way To Texas Via Social Media Posts, WhatsApp Instructions
Tuesday was a very emotional day for the Edwards family, who said the guilty verdict brings a sense of justice and peace. When Charmaine Edwards took the stand she told the jury the rare guilty verdict against a police officer sends a message that others should hear. “I’m forever grateful that y’all seen [sic] in your hearts to see that it was wrong… and I’m thankful,” she said. “Because for once, I mean it doesn’t bring Jordan back, but we have some kind of closure.”