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Former North Texas officer convicted of murdering 15-year-old now facing federal civil trial

Roy Oliver, a former Balch Springs officer, was convicted of murder in the death of Jordan Edwards, 15, in 2018.

DALLAS — At the Earle Cabell Federal Building in Dallas, former Balch Springs police officer Roy Oliver is back in court. This time, he’s facing a federal civil lawsuit for wrongful death and excessive force. 

In April 2017, Oliver was responding to a disturbance call when he fired multiple shots into a car with five teenagers. Jordan Edwards, 15, was in the front passenger seat. Edwards was struck in the back of the head and died.

Family and friends described Edwards as a freshman high school athlete destined for big things. He was an A and B honor-roll student with a 3.5 GPA. His nickname was “Smiley” because people say he smiled all the time.

In 2018, Oliver had his criminal trial where he was convicted for the murder of Edwards. The jury sentenced the former officer to 15 years in prison.

Six years since the incident, Oliver, now in 2023, sits in federal court as similar testimonies are made.

On Monday in the courtroom, there were emotional moments for Edwards’ family. Officer-worn body camera footage was played multiple times. Photos of Edwards were shown, including gruesome pictures from the scene. Loved ones were in tears, and some people left the room during parts of the testimony.

“It was very difficult,” Vidal Allen told WFAA. He’s Edwards’ older brother, who was driving the car the night of the shooting.

Allen took the stand on Monday in tears. He described events of that night from his perspective. He said after he pulled away, he realized Edwards was shot. 

Allen said he stopped for another police unit, and he testified that as he asked for help, there were laser beams on him. He felt like he was being treated as a criminal. He was put in the patrol car, and asked the officer to pray with him for his little brother.

Allen said there will never be justice for his family. “Once [Oliver] gets out of prison, he’ll still be able to go home to his son. We got to go visit a grave.”

Kevon Edwards, the oldest brother, was also in the car sitting in the back middle seat. He saw Jordan Edwards slumped over after shots were fired. He has new perspective as a father, imagining what his own dad went through losing a son. 

“I miss [Jordan] a lot. I just had two sons and it’s me going to the grave with my sons. It’s just not fair. It isn’t supposed to be like that,” he said. Kevon Edwards also testified Monday.

Maximus Everett, a friend of the family, was sitting right behind Jordan Edwards in the car in April 2017. He said he was frustrated with the cross-examination from Oliver’s attorney. 

After he took the stand, he described his friend to WFAA. “He could have been the next number-one NFL draft pick, President, anything. It’s like we’ll never get a chance to see what he could have been because he got stolen from us that fast.” 

He misses "Smiley."

Oliver’s attorney could not comment at the time this article was published. 

The civil trial continues on Tuesday morning.

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