New Orleans, LA - A defendant on trial for the 2015 murder of New Orleans Police Officer Daryle Holloway successfully halted his trial by acting crazy.
The cheap trick resulted in him being declared incompetent "at this time," even though he had already been previously declared competent.
The incident occurred after Travis Boys returned to the courtroom from a restroom break, according to The New Orleans Advocate.
He pulled out a piece of feces wrapped in tissue paper and spread it over his head, face and mouth, and possibly ate some of it.
“Mr. Boys ate his own feces in court," Lead defense attorney Billy Sothern said. "Which, whether or not there was some volition that led to that act, the mere fact that someone could do that and sit continuously doing that, for minutes on end, strikes me as prima facie evidence of mental illness.”
Jury selection for the day was stopped by Criminal District Court Judge Karen Herman, who ordered a competency hearing for Boys.
"You think that eating feces is bad?" Assistant District Attorney Inga Petrovich said. "This will not stop, your honor. He is manipulating the court. He is manipulating you."
“I had hoped that this court was too intelligent to allow an accused cop-killer to hijack these proceedings, but I was incorrect,” District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro said, according to Matt Sledge with The Advocate.
“This afternoon, the city of New Orleans sunk to a new low when we turn(ed) control of our criminal justice system over to an accused murderer who killed a dedicated police officer on film.”
The potential jurors were dismissed, with the exception of a small group that were in Judge Herman's chambers.
Attorney David Belfield, who is Boys' uncle, said that he was putting on an act for the jurors. He said, "It's calculated, and it shows that he's not insane, not crazy."
He is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Officer Holloway, who was transporting him to jail.
Boys was somehow able to get out of his handcuffs, get a gun, and shoot Officer Holloway to death in an SUV. He then fled and was not taken into custody until about 24 hours later.
The incident was captured on body-cam video. It is not known how he obtained the gun.
Boys has entered two pleas, not guilty, and not guilty by reason of insanity. He has had one previous competency hearing, where he was found competent to stand trial.
Prosecutors have said that they are not seeking the death penalty, but are seeking a life sentence instead.
Both the prosecution and the defense have argued over proof of sanity, medical records that allegedly show mental illness runs in Boys' family, and possible mental disabilities.
One major issue with Boys' family's medical records involves the potentially illegal means by which they were obtained.
The defense also sought a motion that would not allow police officers to attend the trial in uniform; they told Judge Herman that a jury would be influenced.
In response, Judge Herman said "The jury is going to be instructed on prejudices and not being inflamed by any kind of emotions. It’s a great big courtroom. There’s over 100 seats in here.”