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Jailhouse phone call shows New Orleans cop killer ready for trial: Prosecutors

October 24, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Jailhouse phone call shows New Orleans cop killer ready for trial: Prosecutors

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Referring to an affectionate phone conversation that police say Travis Boys made to a woman from prison, prosecutors intend to request that Criminal District Court Judge Karen Herman reconsider her decision that he is incompetent to stand trial for murdering an officer in New Orleans.

However, while Boys appears upbeat and attentive in the recorded conversation, it may not be critical in determining whether or not he’s capable of standing trial.

Prosecutors said the conversation implies that Boys was faking mental illness when he spread feces on himself and ate some of it on Wednesday during jury selection.

“In the call, Mr. Boys is aware of the circumstances going on in his case, refers to when he will be released, as well as the possible inability to call his girlfriend once he goes to the hospital,” Assistant District Attorney Inga Petrovich stated.

Prosecutors tried to file the motion in Herman’s court on Friday but were not successful, The Advocate reported.

Boys’ legal team said the call shows the opposite of what prosecutors are contending.

“Travis Boys’ recorded call reflects the delusional, impaired thinking that has animated our concerns about his competency to stand trial,” lawyer Billy Sothern said.

Unrelatedly, the Louisiana Supreme Court denied a request from prosecutors to review Herman’s ruling.

The court also failed to approve a request to put Herman’s ruling on hold. It’s not clear whether that decision will hinder prosecutors from filing the motion about the call with Herman.

Travis Boys, 35, halted his jury selection on Wednesday when he pulled out feces in a napkin and rubbed it into his head and face.

The 35-year-old defendant is accused of the shooting death of New Orleans Officer Daryle Holloway as Boys was being transported to jail in 2015. He then fled and remained on the lam for 24 hours.

He is facing life behind bars if found guilty on charges of first-degree murder. His case was set to go to trial Monday before the feces episode.

The strange courtroom incident led Herman to hold an emergency mental competency hearing. Four doctors weighed in on whether the feces show was a scheme to avoid trial or a legitimate sign of mental illness.

Two doctors who testified for the defense said that while they are not totally sure what the feces incident meant, Boys appeared bewildered by his case. “I don’t think he’s focused enough to maintain anything that’s going on around him,” said Brad McConville said.

The doctors who testified for the defense also referred to Boys’ low IQ scores, his family history of schizophrenia, and an incident in which he jumped through a second-floor window back in 2014.

Throughout the hearing, Boys kept his head down to his chest and seemed inattentive as psychiatrists and attorney discussed his fate. Sothern pointed to his demeanor as further evidence of his incompetence.

Herman sided with the defense and required Boys to be sent to the state mental hospital to be restored to competency, by medication if necessary.

Hours later, Boys called his “girlfriend” from another inmate’s phone account. The New Orleans Advocate acquired a recording of the call.

The conversation begins off with a rhapsodic declaration of affection.

“I’m like, what is this woman doing? Does she know how much I love her? Does she know how much I’m in love with her? Does she know how much she means to me?” Boys said on the tape.

For 25 minutes, the maximum length of calls allowed from the Orleans Justice Center, the couple talk a bout their relationship, her family and his prospects. The call, which is difficult to decipher at points, also contains references to Boys’ competency issues.

“They been worried about me?” the man asked the woman at one point.

Travis Boys is charged with fatally shooting New Orleans cop Daryle Holloway (pictured) in June 2015

“Yes,” the woman responded. “They have been worried, since we saw the news.”

At another point, the pair discusses what they will do if they are cut off from speaking to one another.

“It’s like, medication, you know, that’s something serious,” the man said to her.

Boys is legally married to another woman, whose 911 call claiming that he shot a gun at her led to his arrest in June 2015. He was being brought to jail on an aggravated assault charge when he shot Holloway.

This year, Boys’ wife filed for divorce.

Sothern, Boys’ defense lawyer, said the phone call underlines his reasoning in court that Boys is disturbed.

“Far from providing a basis for reconsidering the ruling, which was upheld by both the 4th Circuit and the Supreme Court, the recording reflects Boys’ intellectual disability, illness and his inability to understand the legal proceedings in this serious case,” Sothern stated.

“At no point in the recording did he suggest that any of his bizarre and troubling behavior in court was feigned and instead stated that he needs to get on medication,” he continued.

Although prosecutors intent to ask Herman to reconsider her ruling declaring Boys incompetent, she does not seem likely to do so based on her statements thus far. In a written opinion, Herman described the unusual circumstances — including the feces incident — that resulted in her ruling that Boys’ is not competent for trial.

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