Victim's family say they understand judge's decision in competency case for accused cop killer

Boys to go to secure mental facility

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - A shocking turn of events Wednesday led to unwanted news for the family of slain New Orleans Police Officer Darryl Holloway. Thursday, a judge decided the defendant in that case is incompetent to stand trial, for now.

"I had hoped that this Court was too intelligent to allow an accused cop killer to hijack these proceedings, but I was incorrect." That's what District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro said in a statement, today, after the judge found Travis Boys incompetent to stand trial. But others, including the victim's family, have a different take.

"A little disappointed but, as a lawyer, my sister and I understand the legal process," said David Belfield.

On the steps of criminal court, Darryl Holloway's uncle, addressed the press. This, after Holloway's accused killer was found incompetent to stand trial following a shocking display in court, Wednesday.

"He hid some feces that he later smeared all over himself in an attempt to fool the court," said Belfield. "It's all a pattern from Mr. Boys to hide who he really is, but you can't hide from the Lord and you can't hide from justice."

Judge Karen Herman had ruled Travis Boys mentally fit for trial last month. Yet, after his startling display and a new hearing, that all changed.

"Anytime someone behaves in that manner, the judge would almost be forced to have a hearing to determine whether or not that individual would competent to go forward with a trial," explained legal analyst Bobby Hjortsberg.

Hjortsberg says most of the weight in making that determination falls on expert testimony of doctors and psychiatrists, two of whom testified for the defense, the other two, for the prosecution.

While the state's doctors said they believed Boys planned the ordeal, Judge Herman still found Boys to be incompetent.

Belfield says he understands why.

"The judge did what she was supposed to do to protect her record cause we don't want to do this twice," he said.

Hjortsberg makes a similar argument for Herman.

"If the judge were to make the wrong decision and somehow it comes back on appeal that this individual was not competent to stand trial, despite the judge's ruling that he was, of course, that could have appeal implications and could certainly delay justice for the family," said Hjortsberg.

Now, Hjortsberg says it will be up to doctors at a state-run facility in East Feliciana parish to decide if and when Boys competency is restored. Yet, there is such a thing as "unrestorably incompetent", which means Boys would never be fit for trial.

"At that point, they would remain in the mental institution until the judge determined that they were safe to come back out into society," Hjortsberg said.

Belfield believes justice will be served, even though it may take some time. He says what's most alarming in this case is that Boys was able to sneak feces into the courtroom. Belfield says, it was feces this time, but worries it could be a weapon next time.

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