NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A man accused of killing a New Orleans police officer in 2015 was convicted Saturday, as jurors rejected his insanity defense.
After a six-day trial, the jury deliberated just 66 minutes before finding 35-year-old Travis Boys guilty of first-degree murder in the death of 46-year-old Daryle Holloway, a 22-year veteran officer. Boys had pleaded not guilty and not guilty by reason of insanity.
Holloway was shot in a police SUV in June 2015 as he was transporting Boys to jail after an earlier arrest. Boys escaped the vehicle and was caught the next day after an intense manhunt.
The verdict found that Boys was not suffering from a mental disease or defect and understood the difference between right and wrong when he fatally shot Holloway, Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro said in a statement.
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“I am grateful this jury saw through the facade of this murderer’s concocted insanity defense and arrived at the only appropriate verdict,” Cannizzaro said. “Travis Boys not only had a clear understanding of his intentions to shoot this officer with a smuggled gun and escape from custody, but he also knew it was wrong. He will now spend the rest of his life in prison contemplating his heinous and unforgivable acts.”
Boys will receive a mandatory sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole when state District Judge Karen Herman sentences him May 3.
“We are thankful for these jurors’ hard work and close attention to the law. And we pray that this outcome provides some measure of comfort and relief to Officer Holloway’s mother, children, former wife and loving family and friends,” Cannizzaro said.
“Today, justice has been served,” Mayor Mitch Landrieu said in a statement. “Nearly three years after his murder, our city continues to mourn his senseless death. While this verdict cannot ease the pain created by losing Officer Holloway, it does send a powerful message that if you attack our police, you will be brought to justice.”
In October 2015, a former police officer pleaded guilty to malfeasance and obstruction of justice charges related to Holloway’s death. Wardell Johnson is awaiting an April 13 hearing at which Herman will sentence him to up to 40 years in prison. Police said he failed to adequately pat down Boys after his arrest, and tried to cover up his shoddy police work.
Boys had been set for trial in October. But he brought an abrupt end to jury selection in those proceedings by smearing his head and face with feces he had smuggled into the courtroom.
Herman, who ordered a mental evaluation for Boys after the feces-smearing incident, later declared Boys competent for trial and stated that he had “hijacked” the proceedings with his stunt. “He will no longer be allowed to control these proceedings,” Herman told the defense at a November hearing.
Holloway’s body camera was on when he was shot. Media accounts of Tuesday’s testimony say a New Orleans police lieutenant walked jurors through the video recording, pointing out images of Holloway’s arm trying to control the handgun used in the shooting. It also captured the sounds of a struggle, Boys yelling “Let me out before you kill yourself,” and a gunshot.
Defense attorneys have focused on Boys’ mental capacity, eliciting testimony from one expert who testified that an IQ test he took as a teenager indicated “borderline retardation,” and a sister who said Boys had trouble remembering basic information.