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Reserve Pastor Errol Victor sentenced to life in prison

Victor’s case was featured on the TV show “America’s Most Wanted” when he and his wife, Tonya, jumped bail before their first trial.

RESERVE, La. — A pastor from Reserve was sentenced to life in prison without parole Wednesday morning for murdering his 8-year-old stepson in 2008.

Errol Victor Sr. was sentenced for the beating death of 8-year-old ML Lloyd III. That sentence was predetermined by Louisiana law, but his 14-year fight against the charges and a string of last-ditch efforts to overturn his July 20 conviction made Wednesday morning’s proceedings at the courthouse in Edgard less than a foregone conclusion.

Victor was supposed to have been sentenced Sept. 9, but he used a legal maneuver to delay it 12 days after trying unsuccessfully to get his conviction thrown out and his lawyers fired. 

Judge Dennis Waldron, an ad hoc judge from New Orleans who presided over the trial after all the local judges recused from the case, held Victor in contempt of court and also sentenced him to six months in parish prison, to be served consecutively with his life sentence.

Victor’s case was featured on the TV show “America’s Most Wanted” when he and his wife, Tonya, jumped bail before their first trial. The Victors finally faced trial in 2014 and he represented both of them. She was convicted of manslaughter and is serving 21 years in prison. He was found guilty of second-degree murder, but the jury split on his verdict 10-2. He had his conviction overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2020 after the high court found Louisiana’s non-unanimous jury system unconstitutional in 2019.

The Supreme Court granted Victor a new trial, but he remained in state prison facilities after he was supposed to be returned to parish jail. 

He went to trial in July and was convicted, this time unanimously, but shortly before the verdict Victor tried to argue the new trial amounted to “double jeopardy” and he should be freed. He counted on a large church following in St. John the Baptist Parish and support from community and civil rights leaders as he tried to dispute the validity of his latest trial.

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