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Former policeman's motion to change venue in child killing case denied

By staff |
August 1, 2018
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Dallas, TX – On July 31, Dallas County District Judge Brandon Birmingham denied former Balch Springs Police Officer Roy Oliver's motion to change venue.

Oliver is facing trial on August 16 for the murder of Jordan Edwards, a 16-year-old African American child, in the Dallas suburb of Balch Springs. On April 29, 2017, Roy Oliver was investigating alleged underaged drinking at a large party when people started to flee the party due to gunshots from outside a nearby business. Oliver saw a car driving away and fired three shots from an AR-15 rifle into the car, striking Edwards, one of the passengers, fatally in the head. Balch Springs police first claimed that the car had been backing up towards Oliver at the time Oliver fired, but police body camera footage showed the car was moving away.

Olinka Green, a volunteer with the North Texas Action Committee who attended the hearing as an observer, said that Faith Johnson, the Dallas County District Attorney, was personally in the courtroom for the hearing. "She was there to make sure things went the way they were supposed to go. She knows her political career is on the line." Johnson, a Republican appointed to fill out the unexpired term of a DA who resigned in office, is facing a November election in a heavily Democratic county against a strong Democrat opponent.

Green said that it was an unusual experience to sit and look at a child murderer. "What I saw was pure evil," she added.

The motion to change venue claimed that unfavorable pretrial publicity would make it impossible for Oliver to get a fair trial in Dallas County. But local attorney Dan Sullivan said, "Obviously Judge Birmingham ruled that was not the case. But I think the main effect of the motion, if it had been granted, is that the trial might have been moved to a county where jurors would be even less inclined to convict a police officer. Any other county around here would be more favorable to Roy Oliver than Dallas County. So, from the perspective of justice for the victims of police crimes, it's a good thing the trial is staying here."