Roy Oliver, Texas Officer Who Fatally Shot 15-Year-Old Black Boy, is Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison

Former Balch Springs Police Officer Roy Oliver (foreground left) stands next to defense attorney Miles Brissette (right) after being sentenced Wednesday to 15 years in prison for the murder of 15-year-old Jordan Edwards.
Rose Baca/AP

A jury in Texas sentenced former police officer Roy Oliver to 15 years in prison for the murder last year of an unarmed black teenager.

Oliver was a police officer in the Dallas suburb of Balch Springs when the shooting took place in April of last year. He and his partner responded to reports of underage drinking. Oliver fired his weapon five times at a moving vehicle. Jordan Edwards, 15, in the front passenger seat, was shot in the head and killed.

Oliver, who was dismissed by the department, has said he believed the vehicle was moving toward his partner, endangering him.

According to The Associated Press, “Police initially said the vehicle backed up toward officers ‘in an aggressive manner,’ but later admitted that bodycam video showed the vehicle was moving forward as officers approached. Oliver’s partner told jurors he didn’t believe his life was ever in danger.”

Oliver was convicted of murder on Tuesday after Dallas County jurors deliberated for more than 12 hours over two days.

The Dallas Morning News says the same jury took five hours on Wednesday to decide on the sentence, which also includes a $10,000 fine. Oliver would be eligible for parole in 7 1/2 years, his lawyers told the AP.

“He can actually see life again after 15 years and that’s not enough because Jordan can’t see life again,” Edwards’ stepmother, Charmaine Edwards, reportedly said of Oliver after he was sentenced Wednesday. However, she conceded that the verdict and sentence was “a start for us.”

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SOURCE: NPR, Scott Neuman