Posted: Jul 17, 2012 9:52 AM by AP
LAPLACE, La. (AP) - A St. John the Baptist Parish couple found hiding in Georgia after they failed to show up for a trial in the death of the woman's 8-year-old son are back in Louisiana.
Errol Victor, 46, and Tonya Victor, 38, had a court hearing Monday in LaPlace.
The couple disappeared on the eve of their second-degree murder trial last August and was arrested in Tifton, Ga., on April 14, after being featured on an episode of "America's Most Wanted," according to The Times-Picayune reports.
They are accused in the death of Tonya Victor's son, M.L. Lloyd III, in 2008. Authorities say he had been severely whipped and beaten before being pronounced dead at a hospital.
The Victors have maintained that the boy died as the result of a severe asthma attack brought on by a fight with his brothers.
Authorities in Georgia said they were unsure how long the couple had been in Tifton.
The Victors had cut off all electronic communication, according to the U.S. Marshals Service, and stopped using the Internet, cellphones and other electronic devices. The couple had been using aliases, telling people they were trying to start a church and relying on Christian charity to survive, according to the Tifton County Sheriff's Office.
After their arrest, the couple refused to be returned voluntarily to St. John the Baptist Parish and the Louisiana Attorney General's Office, which is prosecuting the case, had to secure a governor's warrant for their extradition, a process that took three months.
The Victors forfeited about $700,000 in bonds when they fled before their trial. Judge Mary Hotard Becnel ordered the couple held without bond once they were arrested.
They were booked on Saturday in St. John Parish with jumping bail and are being held at a jail outside the parish, according to the St. John Parish Sheriff's Office.
Their attorney, Lionel "Lon" Burns, said he plans to file a motion to establish bond and to quash the murder indictment against the Victors on the grounds of malicious prosecution.
Both Burns and the Victors have sought in the past to end his representation but those requests were denied by both Becnel and the Louisiana 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. Burns, who said he has not had a chance to meet with his clients since they were caught, said he plans to continue to represent them, although a public defender may have to get involved because the Victors are now considered indigent.
A Facebook page set up within the past week in the couple's name seeks donations for a defense fund.
No further court dates have yet been set.