Wednesday, February 22, 2017
On February 15, 2017, the Court of Criminal Appeals found that the judge committed error in the 2014 murder trial of Kelvin Lee Roy in Orange County. Kelvin’s lawyer, Dustin Galmor, successfully argued that the jury should have been given the option for the lesser offense of manslaughter.
“While a new trial is likely, it is not a guarantee,” Dustin Galmor, of Galmor, Stovall & Gilthorpe Law Firm, said. “There is a second part which the mistake has to be harmful.”
Roy was sentenced to 75 years on murder charges, but would have received 20 years if he had been sentenced for manslaughter, according to Galmor.
Roy crashed into another vehicle and killed Alexandria Bertrand on February 7, 2014. Six months later at trial, the Prosecutor admitted evidence showing Roy was driving with his girlfriend, Taralynn Brown, while under the influence of anti-anxiety medication, alcohol and PCP when he ramped a train track at a high rate of speed and landed on another vehicle. When police arrived, they found baggies of crack in the roadway. When questioned, Brown denied she knew about the crack and further stated Roy was trying to kill her by wrecking his car.
According to police reports, a white Honda mini-van being driven by 34-year-old Vidor resident April Bertrand was stopped at the red light at railroad tracks facing south when the Mercury Sable, driven by Roy, was traveling at a high rate of speed and launched over the grade of the tracks and ‘struck the top of the mini-van.’ The crash resulted in Alexandria, affectionately known as Lexy to family and friends, being ejected from the mini-van.
Roy testified in trial that he never intended to harm anyone. He stated he became intoxicated and blacked out while driving. Roy’s trial lawyer, Malachi Daws, asked the judge to give the jury an option for manslaughter. The judge denied that request and would only allow the jury to choose between finding Roy guilty of murder or letting him off with no punishment. The jury chose murder and sentenced Kelvin to 75 years in prison.
Roy, who was tried in Judge Dennis Powell’s courtroom in Orange County, would have to serve at least 30 years in prison before he is eligible for parole if he does not granted a new trial.
Roy appealed his case to the 9th Court of Appeals in Beaumont over the judge’s decision to exclude the manslaughter option. The 9th Court denied Roy’s appeal.
Roy then took his case to Austin, Texas, where his lawyer Dustin Galmor argued the judge was required to give the jury the option for manslaughter. The Court of Criminal Appeals agreed and ruled that the judge committed error because a jury could have rationally found that Roy did not intend to harm anyone. The case now goes back to the 9th Court of Appeals where Roy will seek a new trial.
“The 9th Court of Appeals will have to determine if harm was done,” Glamor said. “It could take three to four months to hear their decision.”
Kelvin Roy is represented by Dustin Galmor of Galmor, Stovall & Gilthorpe Law Firm in Beaumont, Texas.