- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 28, 2018

DALLAS (AP) - The Latest on a white former police officer charged in the shooting death of a black teenager in Texas (all times local):

8:45 p.m.

Jurors deciding the fate of a former Texas police officer convicted of murdering an unarmed, black teenager have recessed for the day.

Roy Oliver was convicted Tuesday in the death of 15-year-old Jordan Edwards last year. Oliver was a police officer in Balch Springs when he fired into a car full of black teenagers leaving a party in the Dallas suburb. Edwards was killed.

The jury went into sentencing after only a brief break following the conviction. Jurors heard hours of additional testimony, including from Edwards‘ father.

He told jurors that his son was always smiling and dreamed of playing football at Alabama.

The sentencing phase of the trial is scheduled to resume Wednesday.

___

7:45 p.m.

The father of an unarmed black teenager who was fatally shot by a white former police officer in Texas says his son was always smiling, adding: “He gets that from me.”

Odell Edwards testified Tuesday night at the sentencing of Roy Oliver. The ex-police officer in Balch Springs was convicted of murder earlier in the day for the slaying of Edwards‘ son, 15-year-old Jordan Edwards.

The father says he approved of his son going to the house party where the shooting occurred because he’d been to similar parties without incident.

Edwards said he learned of the shooting when he got a call from the driver of the car his son was riding in when he was shot. He says it wasn’t clear what happened.

He says he tried to call back repeatedly, then drove around looking for where his son might be.

___

6:15 p.m.

An expert who tracks police shootings nationwide says the murder conviction of an ex-police officer in Texas is extremely rare.

Philip Stinson is a criminologist at Bowling Green State University. He says that since 2005, only six non-federal law enforcement officers have been convicted of murder for on-duty shootings.

He says four of those were later overturned, and the latest conviction occurred Tuesday when a Dallas County jury convicted former Balch Springs police officer Roy Oliver.

Experts say that securing convictions against officers are often challenging because jurors are inclined to believe police testimony.

Oliver was found guilty of murder in the death of 15-year-old Jordan Edwards. Oliver says he feared for his partner’s safety when he fired into a car full of black teenagers that was driving away from a party in suburban Dallas.

Oliver was later fired from the Balch Springs Police Department.

___

4:40 p.m.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is responding to the murder conviction of a white former police officer who killed an unarmed black teenager last year in suburban Dallas.

The Republican tweeted Tuesday that “this life should never have been lost,” referring to 15-year-old Jordan Edwards.

The teen was killed when then-Balch Springs police officer Roy Oliver fired into a car full of teenagers leaving a house party in April 2017. Abbott’s tweet came shortly after Oliver was convicted by a jury in Dallas.

Abbott came under criticism from Texas Democrats last year over his muted response to the shooting. Abbott didn’t say anything publicly for days before giving the media a statement that expressed condolences, saying Edwards‘ family deserved a fair and full investigation.

___

3:20 p.m.

Gasps echoed across the courtroom as a Texas jury found a white former police officer guilty of murder for fatally shooting an unarmed black teenager.

Roy Oliver was convicted Tuesday in Dallas County. He killed 15-year-old Jordan Edwards last year when he fired his gun into a car full of black teenagers leaving a house party in the Dallas suburb of Balch Springs.

After the verdict was read, Edwards‘ relatives sobbed, hugged prosecutors and exclaimed, “Thank you, Jesus!”

An attorney for Edwards‘ family, Daryl Washington, said: “This was a long-fought battle.”

The former Balch Springs officer was acquitted on two lesser charges of aggravated assault. Jurors deliberated over two days before reaching the verdict.

The trial now moved into the sentencing phase.

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2:20 p.m.

A white former Texas police officer has been found guilty of murder for fatally shooting an unarmed black teenager as he left a house party in a car full of teenagers.

Jurors convicted Roy Oliver on Tuesday in a Dallas County courtroom.

Oliver was fired from the Balch Springs Police Department days after the April 2017 shooting. Oliver killed 15-year-old Jordan Edwards when he fired into a moving car carrying five black teenagers leaving a local house party.

Edwards was in the front passenger seat.

Oliver testified that he opened fire after seeing the car move toward his partner. He says he thought his partner was in danger. But his partner told jurors he didn’t fear for his life and never felt the need to fire his weapon.

___

10:25 a.m.

A jury has started its second day of deliberations in the trial of a white former Texas police officer charged with fatally shooting an unarmed black teenager leaving a house party.

Roy Oliver was fired from the Balch Springs Police Department days after he shot into a moving car filled with five black teens, killing 15-year-old Jordan Edwards in April 2017.

A Dallas County jury deliberated for eight hours Monday and resumed their work Tuesday.

Oliver testified last week that he decided to fire at the car when he saw it moving toward his partner. But his partner told jurors he didn’t fear for his life.

Oliver is being tried on murder and aggravated assault charges. Prosecutors say the jury could also find him guilty of manslaughter.


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