Dallas County

Trial of Former Balch Springs Officer Charged with Murder to Begin Thursday

The trial of a former Balch Springs Police officer charged with murder will begin Thursday.

Roy Oliver is accused of unlawfully shooting and killing 15-year-old Jordan Edwards last year while responding to a call. 

During a pre-trial hearing Tuesday, a judge denied a motion from Oliver's defense team asking for the trial to be pushed back.

The case has received widespread attention as national conversations about policing, race and use of force tactics continue.

On April 29, 2017, Oliver and other Balch Springs police officers went to investigate a complaint of underage drinking at a house party.

Investigators said when the officers arrived on scene they heard gunshots, which they later determined were unrelated, and spotted a black Chevrolet Impala leaving the area.

A short time later, Oliver fired his rifle at the Impala, which Edwards, his two brothers, and two other teens were riding in. One of the bullets struck Edwards in the head, killing him.

According to Oliver, he and another officer repeatedly told the driver of the Impala to stop, but the driver ignored him. He claims the other officer in the vehicle then moved his weapon toward the rear passenger side window, causing him to "fear for his life" and fire.

Both he and his attorneys maintain that his actions that night were reasonable and lawful. Body camera footage of the incident shows Oliver firing his rifle as the car drives away from him and the other officer.

Oliver's defense team filed several pre-trial motions, which they argued before a judge Tuesday morning. 

Among them: recusing the Dallas County District Attorney's Office from the case. A judge denied that motion, just as he denied delaying the trial and moving it out of Dallas County.

The defense came away with one victory, however, when the judge ruled a previous incident involving Oliver could not be presented as evidence in his trial.

Less than two weeks before the shooting, Oliver was involved in a minor crash while he was off-duty. The women in the vehicle that hit him said he became enraged and pointed a gun at them. 

Prosecutors had hoped to use that incident to establish a pattern of abuse.

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