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'Gasps' as Ex-Cop Convicted of Murdering Unarmed Black Teen

Roy Oliver said he feared for his partner's life, but his partner had a different take
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 28, 2018 4:48 PM CDT
Lead prosecutor Michael Snipes gives a closing argument in the trial of former Balch Springs police officer Roy Oliver, who is charged with the murder of 15-year-old Jordan Edwards, at the Frank Crowley...   (Rose Baca/The Dallas Morning News via AP, Pool)
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(Newser) – A white former police officer was convicted of murder on Tuesday for fatally shooting an unarmed black teenager when he fired into a car full of teenagers leaving a house party in suburban Dallas, the AP reports. Dallas County jurors were not swayed by former Balch Springs police officer Roy Oliver's claim that he feared for his partner's life when he fired into the vehicle. The gunfire killed 15-year-old Jordan Edwards, who was sitting in the front passenger seat. Gasps echoed around the courtroom as the verdict was read. Edwards' relatives sobbed and hugged prosecutors, and waved their hands in the air and proclaimed "Thank you, Jesus!" after the jury left. Oliver and his partner were responding to a report of underage drinking at a house party when the shooting occurred in April 2017. Oliver was fired from the Balch Springs Police Department days later.

After Oliver and his partner, Tyler Gross, broke up the party, they were inside the residence when they heard gunfire outside and responded. Authorities later determined the shots were fired near a nursing home in the area. Oliver retrieved his rifle and went toward Gross, who was ordering the car carrying Edwards to stop. Oliver testified that he saw the car back up and stop for a second before moving forward and going toward Gross. Testifying in his own defense, Oliver told the jury the car was about to hit his partner. Oliver said he felt he had no other option but to fire. Gross, however, testified that he did not fear for his life and never felt the need to fire his weapon. He also said he didn't feel like the vehicle was trying to hit him. Prosecutors said Oliver fired after the vehicle passed Gross. Investigators also said no guns were found in the teens' vehicle. "This was a long fought battle," said Daryl Washington, an attorney representing Edwards' family in a civil lawsuit they've filed in the matter. Oliver also was found not guilty on two lesser charges Tuesday stemming from the shooting.

(Read more Jordan Edwards stories.)

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