Travis Boys, the accused killer of New Orleans Police Department Officer Daryle Holloway, appeared in court on Tuesday under heavy security as prosecutors and defense attorneys haggled over preliminary issues related to the capital murder charge he faces in the June 20 fatal shooting inside the officer’s patrol vehicle.
Boys, 33, wore a navy blue bulletproof vest over his orange Orleans Parish Prison jumpsuit and tight shackles as he sat in court before Criminal District Court Judge Karen Herman. After more than an hour discussing issues of evidence preservation and defense attorney access, Herman set a July 6 arraignment date for Boys to enter a plea.
District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro secured a state grand jury indictment against Boys on Thursday, a stunningly quick five days after police say he somehow got hold of a .40-caliber handgun and fired a shot into Holloway’s chest.
According to police, Boys squeezed through a barrier port in the police SUV and escaped at South Claiborne and Elysian Fields avenues after a struggle with the dying officer.
He remained on the loose for a full 24 hours amid a citywide manhunt before a pair of NOPD officers spotted him boarding a city transit bus in the Lower 9th Ward.
Cannizzaro’s office unveiled the first-degree murder indictment in court on Monday, when a prosecutor told a judge that the office also plans to seek the death penalty.
A spokesman for Cannizzaro’s office said the indictment was held back until after the funeral Saturday for the 22-year veteran officer, who had been working in the 5th District while eyeing retirement in a few years.
Police say the weapon used in the crime was different from the .38-caliber handgun Boys allegedly used to shoot at his wife. Holloway, 45, was transporting him to jail after other officers had arrested him on suspicion of aggravated assault. That weapon sat on the front seat with Holloway, police say.
Herman formally appointed the Public Defender’s Office to represent Boys, and capital defenders Christopher Murrel and Anna Van Cleave spoke with the defendant in hushed tones during Tuesday’s hearing, in which they also were pushing for authorities to preserve evidence in the case.
That fairly routine procedural step got bogged down in legal wrangling as Boys sat quietly at the defense table.
Herman signed an order allowing Boys’ attorneys to inspect the SUV before police do anything with it. Herman also ordered other evidence in the case to be preserved and granted Boys’ attorneys the right to object before any DNA samples are used up.
Watching the proceeding nearby, in seating reserved for defense attorneys, was David Belfield, Holloway’s uncle and the appointed spokesman for a grieving family.
Boys appeared attentive throughout Tuesday’s hearing, responding only once as Herman asked him if he had hired a lawyer before she formally appointed his public defenders.
Also on hand in a hushed courtroom was Blake Arcuri, an attorney for Sheriff Marlin Gusman’s office, who was there to settle on a high-security plan for jail visits by Boys’ lawyers, who agreed to seek approval by the judge for all face-to-face visits.
“He’s been assigned to the super-maximum-security classification. All maximum-security procedures are in place,” Arcuri said.
By law for capital defendants, Boys is being held without bail.
Follow John Simerman on Twitter, @johnsimerman.