CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) – A retrial for a Norfolk police officer accused of voluntary manslaughter begins Tuesday in Chesapeake.
Edmund Hoyt’s first trial, just this past August, ended in a mistrial.
Hoyt is accused of killing Kelvin White during a confrontation in January 2020. Hoyt was off-duty when he received a call from his wife about a man threatening her. She was with their two young children near the Food Lion on Bainbridge Boulevard.
Hoyt has claimed self-defense in his case.
He testified during his first trial that when he arrived on scene, White had a knife and started coming toward him. He was choked up on the stand as he described taking the first shot, which he said had no effect on White, who had a backpack on his chest, with books in it. He said White kept advancing, so he fired more shots.
The Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney argued Hoyt unjustly attacked a mentally ill man.
Ultimately, the jury could not agree on a verdict.
WAVY News 10’s Kiahnna Patterson was in the courtroom for Tuesday’s proceedings.
The jury was selected Tuesday after lunchtime. It is made up of seven women and six men. One juror is a Black man. This was a concern for the Commonwealth during the last jury selection.
Kelvin White’s family says the retrial is off to a better start with one Black man on the jury, however his family feels it is unfair. His family hired Attorney Amina Matheny-Willard to ask the Chesapeake Commonwealth’s Attorney Matthew Hamel to upgrade Hoyt’s charge to murder, following the hung jury. Hoyt is currently charged with manslaughter.
“They are painting my brother out to be some evil aggressor,” said Gerard White, Kelvin’s brother. “I am very disappointed. My family and mother are so very disappointed.”
Matheny-Willard issued a statement regarding the case.
By deciding to charge Hoyt with manslaughter, you are taking the responsibility and duty
away from the jury of finding him guilty of either manslaughter or murder. As you
know, if you charge Hoyt with murder, the jury can decide whether he is guilty of
manslaughter or murder. By charging him with manslaughter, you have taken murder
off the table. This is fundamentally unfair.
As an African-American attorney, representing an African-American family on behalf ofAmina Matheny-Willard, Attorney sent Oct. 2
an African-American victim, we are deeply, deeply disturbed that your office has taken
this position. You have made a bold statement that Black lives do not matter in Chesapeake, Virginia.
On Day 1, the jury reviewed body camera videos and heard from the first officers on the scene following the deadly shooting. Two officers testified that White was face down in handcuffs when paramedics arrived, but he was still alive. He later died at the hospital. An officer said upon his death it was considered a homicide investigation.
Hoyt’s attorney said he acted in self-defense after his wife’s frantic call. Hoyt was scratched on the face and neck during the confrontation. Jurors also saw pictures of the homemade body armor and three blades found at the scene. Hoyt’s wife is expected to take the stand; she was instructed to stay out of the courtroom after the jury was selected.
The Commonwealth maintains Hoyt actions are an “unlawful killing.” The state explains Hoyt is rightfully charged with manslaughter because he “made a decision that he did not have to make” and he was not in danger. Hoyt shot White eight times, three bullets struck his body. During this trial, the Commonwealth plans to present 30 pieces of evidence, along with witness testimony and autopsy results.
The trial is expected to last three to four days. 10 On Your Side Lauryn Moss will continue to cover the trial Tuesday morning.