Travis Boys

A state judge declared Travis Boys, 35, incompetent to stand trial for murder in the 2015 killing of NOPD Ofc. Daryle Holloway on Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017. (OPSO)

OPSO

An appeals court declined Friday to reconsider a New Orleans judge's ruling that alleged cop killer Travis Boys is incompetent to stand trial at this time.

A three-judge panel of the state 4th Circuit Court of Appeal refused 2-1 to hear a request from prosecutors to overturn Criminal District Court Judge Karen Herman’s decision Thursday.

The Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office then asked the state Supreme Court to consider the case.

The appeals court’s decision presents one more roadblock for prosecutors, who had hoped to bring the case to trial Monday. Judges Roland Belsom and Joy Cossich Lobrano voted not to consider their request; Judge Terrell Broussard dissented.

The court did not rule on the merits of the case, only whether to accept it. 

Boys, 35, is accused of shooting New Orleans Police Officer Daryle Holloway to death inside his police SUV in June 2015. He faces life in prison if convicted of first-degree murder.

Boys shocked courtroom spectators — and the judge — when he began smearing feces on himself and eating it in the midst of jury selection on Wednesday. Herman convened an emergency competency hearing the next day to determine whether Boys was fit to stand trial.

Over hours of testimony, two doctors testifying for the defense said Boys should be sent to the state mental hospital at Jackson for treatment and medication. Two doctors called by the prosecution said they believed Boys was feigning mental illness to avoid trial.

Herman sided with the defense and ordered Boys sent to Jackson. That ruling provoked a furious response from prosecutors including District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro.

In a four-page opinion defending her decision, Herman told the 4th Circuit panel that her decision was greatly influenced by the shocking courtroom episode on Wednesday.

The judge recited in graphic detail what happened after Boys pulled out a bag of feces in front of potential jurors. Herman said she did not realize what Boys was smearing on his face and head until the “stench” reached her.

“For several minutes, while deputies surrounded Mr. Boys but did nothing to intervene, the court watched as he continued to eat feces,” Herman said.

The judge said it should be up to her — not to appeals courts — to decide what to do next.

“This court has watched and listened to the mental health care experts in this case testify for nearly ten hours. It observed the demeanor of these witnesses during very aggressive cross-examination by both sides. Most importantly, it watched the defendant eat his own feces for several minutes and his demeanor in many court appearances,” Herman said.

In request for a review of Herman’s decision filed with the Supreme Court on Friday, the DA's Office said all four doctors agreed that the timing of the feces incident was “extremely suspicious.”

“The trial court’s ruling serves only to reward the defendant for his deliberate and carefully planned and executed stunt, and sets a dangerous precedent for other defendants to follow to avoid being tried for their crimes,” Assistant District Attorney Kyle Daly said.

Follow Matt Sledge on Twitter, @mgsledge.

msledge@theadvocate.com | (504) 636-7432