CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) – Tuesday marked day two of the trial for Edmund Hoyt, a Norfolk police officer charged with voluntary manslaughter in the Jan. 19, 2020, death of 42-year-old Kelvin White.
Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney DJ Hansen expressed concern over the composition of the jury panel, half of which is comprised of white men. There are no Black men on the panel. Hoyt’s attorneys say the off-duty officer was acting in self-defense when he fired the shots that killed White.
On Tuesday, Hoyt’s wife Jessica testified that she felt threatened by White. She explained to the jury that White would not let her pass on the sidewalk with her stroller, carrying a 2-year-old and 4-year-old.
She said she didn’t want to go in the street or in the grassy area, along the 2600 block of Bainbridge Blvd. When she told White she would use her mace on him, he allegedly replied that he would stab her in the face. That’s when she called her husband, who came to the scene within about 3 minutes.
Earlier in the day, Hansen called the homicide detective to the stand. The jury then reviewed the interview after Hoyt shot White.
In an interview with the homicide detective, Hoyt says he was asleep when his wife called him saying she was stabbed in the face. He says he rushed to confront White, but when he got there, his wife was not hurt.
Minutes later he had an altercation with White after identifying himself law enforcement. Hoyt drew his gun when he arrived at the scene. In the altercation, Hoyt’s face was scratched.
Hoyt fired six shots, with at least three bullets hitting White. White later died at the hospital. The interview video shows Hoyt was emotional when he learned that White had died.
Hoyt is represented by James Broccoletti and Mario Lorello. The defense team called several witnesses to the stand, including three Chesapeake Integrated Behavioral Healthcare workers. The mental health workers testified they worked with White since 2016. White was never hostile toward them, but he does have a history of not taking his medication to treat schizophrenia.
10 On Your Side heard from White’s family, who said the incident was not a self-defense case. They believe White was attacked by the Hoyt family.
“She [Jessica] called him [Edmund] instead of the police and waited for him to get there. Then he killed him. It’s just that plain and simple,” said Gerard White by phone. “He [Edmund] came there determined to do what he did. That is how I see it.”
The Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney argues Hoyt unjustly attacked a mentally ill man.
A medical examiner, at the time, testified White was shot 3 times; in the arm, chest and back. The cause of death was a gunshot to the torso. White was diagnosed with paranoia schizophrenia, antisocial disorder and a borderline intellectual disability. A toxicology report shows no alcohol or drugs detected. There was also no report of risperidone — a drug to treat paranoia schizophrenia.
The forensic expert testified the DNA found under White’s nails and on his knife was not enough to determine who it belongs to.
White was carrying a backpack on his chest, filled with what the prosecution says were his mother’s encyclopedias. On Monday, Hoyt’s attorneys argued that White was using the books as body armor.
The defense team also pointed to several incidents involving White on the same road as the shooting.
In January 2018, a Chesapeake police officer pulled a gun on White when he resisted arrest. White was banned from the Food Lion on Bainbridge Blvd. after threatening to kill the manager and his kids.
In July 2019, White allegedly threw a brick at a truck going by. The driver got out of the car to confront White, who pulled a knife on the driver.
During the trial’s opening statements, Lorello shared a frantic 911 call from Hoyt’s wife. She told the operator that White had threatened to stab her. She said she called her husband because he is law enforcement and “that’s the only thing I know to do.”
The Norfolk Police Department placed Hoyt on paid administrative leave following the shooting.
If convicted, Hoyt could face a one to 10-year prison sentence and a maximum fine of $2,500.
On Sept. 1, 2020, a judge granted Hoyt a $25,000 bond. The Commonwealth’s Attorney appealed the decision. On Sept. 2, 2020, a circuit court judge upheld the decision to grant bond, but doubled the amount to $50,000.
“Based upon Mr. Hoyt’s lack of any record, his employment, and his continued employment with the city of Norfolk, his military service, his college degree and his family ties, the court found he is not a risk of flight and not a danger to the community,” Broccoletti said.
White’s brother, Maurice White, said that decision was a disappointment.
“It’s really disappointing because you know again that’s my brother. I expected to be a different outcome and you know it’s hurtful,” he said.