UPDATE: Oates Denied New Trial, Granted Reduced Sentence - Local news, weather, sports Savannah | WSAV On Your Side

UPDATE: Oates Denied New Trial, Granted Reduced Sentence

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On Monday, Preston Oates appeared before a Lowcountry judge, filing two motions. One was to reduce his sentence by two years, the other was for a new trial.
Judge Brooks Goldsmith denied Oates request for a new trial but said since Oates has been on house arrest for the last two years, his sentence will be lessened from 26 years to 24 years.

Oates was recently found guilty of manslaughter in the shooting-death of Carlos Olivera on Christmas Eve 2010.


The jury deliberated for hours, Thursday morning the judge put the lesser charge of manslaughter back on the table, and that is what the jury chose, manslaughter over murder.

They found Preston Oates guilty of manslaughter in the shooting-death of Carlos Olivera on Christmas Eve 2010.

During the trial, the defense said Oates feared for his life after Olivera threatened him with a gun when Oates tried to boot his car.

Immediately after the verdict was returned, the judge sentenced Oates to 26 years behind bars for the manslaughter charge and a concurrent sentence of 5 years for possession of a weapon during a violent crime. 

 News 3's Brittany Shane spoke to the victim's brother, Nelson Olivera moments after the verdict was read. 

"It's not the best but at least he's away. He's behind bars, its a relief for us, it wont bring Carlos back, but we know the person that perpetrated this crime is behind bars.and we feel better and more secure," he said.

The Oliveras say that even though this won't bring carlos back, they feel they got justice.

BREAKING NEWS: A jury has returned a verdict of guilty of manslaughter against Bluffton tow truck driver Preston Oates.  Oates is convicted of shooting and killing Carlos Olivera on Christmas Eve 2010.  Oates was sentenced to 26 years for voluntary Manslaughter and 5 years for possession of a weapon during a violent crime.  Both sentences will run concurrent and he will get credit for time served.


The jury has begun deliberations.  The options they have to weigh include the guilty or innocence of Oates with regards to murder which carries a sentence of 30 years to life.  If they find him innocent of that, they may consider voluntary manslaughter which carries two to 30 years.  If he is found guilty of either of those, they will consider the third charge of having a weapon during the commission of a violent crime which carries a five year sentence.

Closing arguments  begin today in the Preston Oates murder trial.  Thursday morning Judge Brooks Goldsmith ruled that the jury may now consider either murder or voluntary manslaughter charges.   Earlier this week the prosecution was seeking  just a murder charge.    News 3's Brittany Shane is in the courtroom and will bring you an update on First News At Five and News 3 At Six.


Preston Oates will not take the stand in his own defense.  In today's proceedings,  recordings were played of Oates telling investigators that he feared for his life before he fired his gun, fatally shooting Carlos Olivera in December of 2010. 


After three years of preparation, the prosecution came out of the gate Tuesday, showing audio and video clips taken from various sources on the night of Christmas Eve 2010. Many, with the defendant, Preston Oates, clearly stating that he was the one to shoot and kill Carlos Olivera. But that wasn't the only evidence the jury heard.

More than a dozen witnesses took the stand--including several members of the olivera family---claiming they watched Oates shoot Olivera as he was walking away from him and then again once he was lying on the ground. NEWS 3 talked to the Olivera's after they testified and they said they're happy the trial is finally underway.
"We thought this process wouldn't take that long but, one way or another we are going to go with the system and remain positive," said brother, Nelson Olivera. 

Prosecutors say they expect the murder trial to last several more days. We of course will be here bringing you all of the latest updates, on air and online

Opening statements began in the trial of Preston Oates Tuesday morning. Oates is the Bluffton tow truck driver accused of murdering Carlos Olivera on Christmas Eve 2010.

Attorneys from both sides opened by stating there are some facts of the case that aren’t arguable. Those facts include the date, location, and the parties involved.

After opening statements, assistant solicitor, Sean Thorton began calling witnesses, including 911 dispatcher, Melanie Smith,  and  neighbor, Steven Veretti. Some of the 14 recorded 911 calls from that night were played for the jury, including Preston Oates own phone call, where he admitted to shooting Olivera. The jury also saw camera surveillance video clips from the next-door neighbor’s home.

News 3’s Brittany Shane is in the courtroom and will be bringing us all of the latest information. Join us on WSAV at 5pm and 6pm for more.


Preston Oates now faces murder charges in the 2010 shooting-death of Carlos Olivera. Those charges were upgraded from manslaughter, and it was announced in court
Monday morning, as jury selection began.
As jury selection began for the Bluffton tow truck driver accused of fatally shooting Olivera on Christmas Eve in 2010., the charges were announced. 
Preston Oates is charged with murder after investigators say he got into an argument with the victim -- carlos olivera -- while booting his van.

Monday morning was a long time-coming for the Olivera family as they've waited more than three years for this trial to get going.

The defense had tried to appeal using "stand your ground" laws but last august the state supreme court said that should not halt the start of a trial. 

The courtroom felt as if it was going to boil over Monday, as the trial for Oates got started with jury selection. After three years of appeals, and hearings, the case will finally go before judge Brooks Goldsmith. The Olivera family was there as jurors were selected--but did not want to talk on camera. They did tell us at the last court appearance that they've been frustrated with the delays.

 "Its really frustrating its been three years now, christmas is at the door and we see no results, the only results we see are in favor of this murderer, this criminal," said Nelson Olivera.

 Those delays include a move by the defense to use the Castle doctrine, "stand your ground laws" which can no longer be used to halt a trial, and even Oates being on house arrest without an electronic ankle monitor---all alarming to the Oliveras.

 "This murderer is just walking around laughing, smiling, because he knows he can get away with anything he has no tracking device," Olivera said.

The trial is set to officially start Tuesday morning---which is a day three years in the making for the family of Carlos Olivera.

 "We have got to be positive all the way, we have no time to think negatively, No. We have to be positive and do whatever we can."

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