Preston Oates granted reduced sentence - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Preston Oates granted reduced sentence


Preston Oates was back in court on Monday after a jury unanimously convicted him of voluntary manslaughter less than three weeks ago.

Judge Brooks Goldsmith sentenced Oates to a concurrent term of 26 years for the Christmas Eve shooting death of Carlos Olivera.

Oates' attorney pleaded for mercy and leniency before the judge and asked for a 10 year sentence. In the end, Judge Goldsmith reduced it down to 24 years.

That reduction didn't sit well with the Olivera family.

"You know, it's nothing compared to four kids without family, four kids without dad," said Nelson Olivera, the victim's brother. "Even 100 years, it's not enough."

The defense first argued for an acquittal, saying they had prepared for a murder trial, but the state added voluntary manslaughter back on the verdict form at the last minute.

Defense attorney Jared Newman argued that Oates' actions did not fit the criteria for manslaughter.

"In this case, there was no rage," said Newman. "There was no uncontrollable impulse. They were cool, calculated, rational acts, whether they were right or wrong, whether they were murder or self defense is the only question."

Deputy solicitor Sean Thornton argued that not all of Oates' actions were cool or rational that night.

"It went far beyond just ‘I'm scared' or ‘I'm frightened,'" Thornton said. "There were things like ‘it was panic fire. It all happened in an instant, it was a flash.'"

The state originally charged Oates with voluntary manslaughter but filed a murder indictment under seal earlier this year to avoid pre-trial publicity for both sides.

Judge Goldsmith denied the defense's motion for an acquittal and a new trial for similar reasons, but he reduced Oates' sentences down to 24 years, giving him credit for time served while he was under house arrest.

"Doing whatever he wanted to and he's getting credit for that?" said Nelson Olivera. "We don't understand. We really are not happy with that."

Both the family and the prosecution said they don't believe Oates has any remorse for what happened.

"No, I'm sorry if that was too blunt, but I'll just say I don't believe Preston Oates has sympathy for anybody other than Preston Oates," said  

Oates remains at the Beaufort County Detention Center.

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