AP NEWS

Man said he was framed, is found guilty of officer’s murder

November 21, 2019

SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) — A Louisiana man who took the stand in his own defense Wednesday has been found guilty of murder in the shooting of a Shreveport police officer.

Grover Cannon, 31, testified against the advice of his counsel, news outlets reported on the seventh day of the trial. Cannon said he wasn’t at the home where officer Thomas LaValley, 29, was shot six times while answering a call about a suspicious person Aug. 5, 2015.

Cannon said he had been “blamed and framed” for the officer’s death. During cross examination, he accused almost all of the 28 witnesses involved in the trial of lying or perpetuating a lie against him, KTBS-TV reported. Cannon said he believes another officer’s bullets killed LaValley.

The lead prosecutor, in turn, said Cannon was the liar.

“Grover Cannon is clearly remorseless based on the testimony you heard today,” Ed Blewer said in his closing argument. “Grover Cannon disrespected you by coming in here and lying, lying, lying and lying to you.”

“This is a young black man accused of killing a young white officer,” lead defense attorney Dwight Doskey said in his closing. “Maybe all you see is a white guy entering your family house with a gun telling you to show your hands.”

Jurors brought in from Baton Rouge deliberated for about two hours before delivering their verdict Wednesday night. They decided against convicting him on lesser charges of second-degree murder or manslaughter.

“I feel relieved,” said Chris Redford, a close friend of LaValley. “It’s been a long process. It’s been four and a half years and a long trial.”

Jury selection had been moved to East Baton Rouge Parish because of pre-trial publicity in the Shreveport area. The selection process had to be restarted in April because of a computer glitch that had prevented people under age 26 from being summoned.

The penalty phase of the trial began Thursday. Jurors will decide whether Cannon will receive life in prison or a death sentence.

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This story has been corrected to show Grover Cannon was only found guilty of first-degree murder, and that the trial is taking place in Shreveport, not Baton Rouge.