Friends, family come to the defense of ex-Balch Springs officer in sentencing phase

Family and friends came to the defense of ex-Balch Springs officer Roy Oliver Wednesday after his conviction a day earlier of murdering 15-year-old Jordan Edwards outside a party last spring.

Oliver, 38, faces up to life in prison — a fate that will be decided by the same Dallas County jurors who declared him guilty.

His attorneys said they wanted to show the jury the “real side of Roy Oliver.”

Among those testifying Wednesday was Oliver’s mother, Linda Oliver, who begged the jury to be lenient on her son.

She was asked at one point what she thought Jordan Edwards’ parents — Odell and Charmaine Edwards — were going through.

“I think we’re both living our own version of hell,” she replied.

She told the jury about Oliver’s son, who has autism.

“That boy deserves every chance in life,” she said. “He needs his father’s love, his father’s income, guidance and support.”

“What about Jordan’s chance?” one person in the audience was heard asking after her testimony.

Oliver’s mother was among several people testifying on Oliver’s behalf, including a 19-year-old student who said she was inspired by Oliver to become an officer, two former landlords and two officers with the Balch Springs Police Department.

Paula Mullican, a former landlord of Oliver’s, said he was kind and helpful and a “highly respectable man and police officer.”

“Roy is not what he’s portrayed to be,” she said and asked the jury to show him “100 percent leniency.”

“He’s not a murderer,” she added, later saying she thinks Oliver “did not intentionally murder this young man.” She was holding a picture of Edwards.

“You are aware a jury found him guilty of murdering that young man, right?” prosecutor George Lewis asked.

“Yes,” she responded.

Jurors were expected to hear from one more witness Wednesday, Oliver’s wife, Ingrid.

On Tuesday, jurors heard from teachers and family members of Edwards. They heard that he was a smart kid who wanted to play football for the University of Alabama. He had a 3.5 GPA and “a million friends.” Over and over again they heard how Edwards had a smile that captivated people.

He was described by several people as “the perfect kid.”

Nichole Manna, 817-390-7684, @NicholeManna

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