EDGARD, La., Aug. 16 (UPI) — A Louisiana judge issued a bench warrant for the arrest of a mother and stepfather charged in the death of her 8-year-old son.
District Judge Mary Hotard Becnel issued the warrant after Tonya and Errol Victor Sr. did not appear Monday for a final status conference for their trial in the death of M.L. Lloyd III, The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune reported.
The Reserve, La., couple face second-degree murder charges in the death of the boy, who authorities say had been severely whipped and beaten before they took him to a hospital emergency room in April 2008. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.
The couple say they are innocent and the boy died of an asthma attack, the Times-Picayune said.
Jury selection was set to begin Tuesday.
Meanwhile, one of the Victors’ sons said they don’t believe they could get a fair trial with their current attorney.
“They’ve been talking about there’s no way they can have a fair trial,” said Marcus Victor, 19, who lives with his father and stepmother. He said he last saw his father Monday morning and that he told him he was going to court.
The Victors have fired Lionel Lon Burns, who had been their counsel, and filed a federal lawsuit accusing him of refusing to perform his duties as their attorney.
Burns has filed two motions to withdraw from the case but Becnel has denied both.