CHESAPEAKE, Va. — The Norfolk police officer accused of killing a man in Chesapeake while off duty took the stand in his own defense on Wednesday.
Edmund Hoyt, who goes by his middle name Ryan, told the court his side of the story.
“I think it’s necessary that the jury hears from me personally.” he testified.
Hoyt cried on the stand during parts of his testimony. Through tears, he described holding Kelvin White at gunpoint before he holstered his gun and grabbed White’s arm.
Hoyt is facing a voluntary manslaughter charge for shooting and killing White in January 2020. On that day, Hoyt said his wife called him, claiming White stabbed her in the face.
When he got to the scene Hoyt said he immediately asked his wife, “Is that the guy?” and approached White with his gun drawn.
The prosecution asked why he didn’t check on his wife and pointed out, White never harmed his wife. Hoyt said he didn’t know if his wife was stabbed or not.
Hoyt said he told White he was law enforcement and ordered him to the ground. Hoyt claimed White replied, “I’m not getting on the ground.”
Hoyt said he holstered his weapon and tried to detain White by grabbing his arm. He said they got into a fight, and that White pulled out a knife. Hoyt then pulled out his gun again and shot White several times, killing him.
The prosecution asked why Hoyt never called the police or asked his wife to do so. He replied he didn’t have time.
Hoyt said, “It was all very fast. It felt like seconds.”
Hoyt said White “advanced towards him” with the knife after he fired the first shot.
Prosecutor D.J. Hansen told the court that Hoyt “was the one who started this” and decided to attack White.
“This could have been resolved peacefully” if Hoyt kept White called the police if he felt threatened, Hansen said.
The prosecution said White acted in self-defense and pulled out a knife only after Hoyt grabbed him and held him at gunpoint. But the defense countered it was Hoyt who was acting in self-defense and acting to protect himself and his family.
Defense Attorney James Broccoletti said Hoyt followed policing training and acted to defend his wife. Broccoletti noted White had a knife and wore a backpack as a “homemade protective vest.”
Broccoletti said because White suffered from mental illness and did not take his medication, he was capable of violent outbursts. Broccoletti said Hoyt was concerned for his family and trying to “diffuse the situation.”
Hansen argued that Hoyt was angry and “unnecessarily and unreasonably” attacked White.
It all started when Hoyt’s wife, Jessica Hoyt, said on that day she went for a walk to Food Lion with her two children in a stroller and met White on the sidewalk.
She told the court during her testimony that she assumed White would move out the way but he didn’t. She asked White to step aside so she could pass with her stroller. She said White refused and took a step closer.
Jessica Hoyt told the court she told White, “I have mace and I’m not afraid to use it.”
She said White replied by telling her he had a knife and would stab her in the face. She told him she was going to call her husband who worked in law enforcement.
She said White told her: “I’ll wait right here for him.”
Jessica Hoyt testified it took three minutes for her husband to arrive. During that time, she said both she and White stood there, waiting with her two children.
The defense and prosecution asked her why she didn’t call 911 or backup.
Jessica Hoyt told the court she was terrified, didn’t want to make any sudden movements, and trusted her husband to protect her.
She said her husband arrived in his truck and immediately jumped out and drew his gun.