BREAKING NEWS: The case ended in a mistrial. Click here for the latest information.
CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) – A Chesapeake jury is deliberating the fate of a Norfolk police officer accused of voluntary manslaughter.
Before this case went to the jury Wednesday afternoon, defendant Edmund Hoyt took the stand. On the stand, Hoyt was choked up recalling the incident in January 2020 that ended in the death of 42-year-old Kelvin White. He told the court said he wanted the jury to understand his intent that day.
Hoyt said he received a call from his wife and she told him “a man just stabbed me in the face.” His wife said on the stand that White threatened to stab her in the face. There was some omission that there could have been a misunderstanding in the moment.
He showed up where she was near the Food Lion Bainbridge Boulevard in Chesapeake. He had on plain clothes, with a paddle holster holding his personal firearm.
Hoyt received extensive firearm and safety training at the police academy which is something his attorney, James Broccoletti, said he relied on when he confronted White.
Hoyt said he jumped out of the truck and didn’t even put it in neutral, and immediately asked his wife, “Is that him?”
She said ‘yes’, so he brandished his firearm. He yelled at White saying, “I am an off-duty officer get on the ground.” Hoyt said White refused his commands.
Hoyt said he was worried for his children who “were too young to run or defend themselves.” They were 2 and 4 years old at the time.
He decided to do a takedown that he was taught in the police academy. During the takedown, Hoyt said White pulled a knife out and came inches from stabbing his face. Hoyt said he pushed White away and created space.
He said White still had the knife in his hand and started coming towards him. Hoyt said it all happened “very very quickly.” While recalling this he started tearing up and said he felt White was going to end his life.
Still choked up, Hoyt said he took his first shot, but it had no effect as White had a backpack on his chest, with books in it.
Hoyt said he re-evaluated and White kept advancing, so he fired several more shots.
Broccoletti asked Hoyt if he wanted to kill White. He said ‘no.’ Hoyt said if White stopped advancing he wouldn’t have shot.
During closing arguments Wednesday afternoon, Hoyt’s attorney said his story is an example of self-defense.
The Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney argued Hoyt unjustly attacked a mentally ill man.
Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney, D.J. Hansen, rebutted Hoyt’s accounts during cross-examination. He said police found eight bullets total.
During closing arguments, Hansen said no reasonable police officer would re-holster their gun and take down a man, who was 100 pounds heavier than him. Hansen also added he didn’t have police back-up either.
At the time of the incident, Hoyt was in plain clothes and not on duty.
Hansen said Hoyt is the one who started the altercation and he had a duty to retreat.
The Deputy Commonwealth Attorney stood feet from the jury during closing arguments. He said, “Mr. White has rights too.”
He ended his closing arguments with “ladies and gentlemen this is not self-defense.”
That argument is something Hoyt’s attorney, James Broccoletti, rebuts. He said in his closing arguments that “the killing was in self-defense.”
Broccoletti told the jury that the verdict is based on law, not feelings. He added that the evidence as a whole must exclude all reasonable theories of innocence.
Hoyt’s attorney said he was dealing with a mentally ill man who was capable of violent outbursts. He said his client stood his ground.
He characterized Hoyt as concerned for his family, not hot and angry as Hansen portrayed.
The case is with the jury. They decided to break for the evening. Deliberations will continue Thursday at 9 a.m.