Son of Hart Co. Commission Chair Pleads Guilty in Shooting

By MJ Kneiser, WLHR Radio, Lavonia

More than six years since the crime occurred, the son of Hart County Commission Chair R.C. Oglesby pleads guilty to going on a shooting rampage at a Hartwell hamburger stand.

On Friday, 38-year old Frederick L. Oglesby pleaded guilty to three counts of felony aggravated assault and two counts of criminal damage to property in the first degree.

Oglesby has been out on bond awaiting trial since the March 22, 2006 incident at the Bantam Chef Drive Thru in Hartwell and in January 2007 had pleaded not guilty to the charges.

In court testimony on Friday, District Attorney Bob Lavender said on that night, Oglesby drove his SUV to the Bantam Chef where he pulled up alongside a Ford Mustang driven by Greg Stowers.

Stowers testified Friday that he got out of his vehicle to talk to Oglesby, but Oglesby began arguing with him.

But he said Oglesby drove off, then turned around and drove back and started shooting at Stowers with an AK-47.

Stowers ran behind the Bantam Chef with Oglesby in pursuit.

Other witnesses testified Friday that Oglesby continued to fire at Stowers as he chased him through the Bantam Chef parking lot and at one point, Oglesby pointed his gun towards people sitting in the drive-thru.

Bantam Chef owner Bob Pickett said one bullet went through a window and lodged inside a wall in his office. Another damaged a concrete table outside.

No one was injured during the shooting, however, and Oglesby got back in his SUV and drove off.

He was the arrested a short time later with the gun still inside his vehicle.

During testimony Friday, both the defense and prosecution said the delay in Oglesby’s trial had to do with the fact that he is in renal failure and this year suffered a setback when his body rejected a kidney transplant.

Oglesby’s attorney, Tim Healy, told the court his client is no longer a candidate for another transplant and has only a short time to live.

Healy called a psychologist who interviewed Oglesby after the shooting. Dr. Greg W. Jordan told the court Oglesby suffers from Bi-Polar disease and was on a strong dosage of prednisone at the time of the shooting.

Jordan said one side effect of prednisone includes wide mood swings, including bursts of uncontrollable anger.

Jordan said Oglesby was also on a host of psychotropic drugs that affected his decision-making abilities. But he said, since the prednisone was reduced and his medication changed, Oglesby had no shown no signs of anger issues.

In issuing his decision, Superior Court Judge Daniel Craig said the case was not a case for a prison sentence.

Taking his illness into consideration, the judge then sentenced Oglesby to 10 years probation on the aggravated assault charges and ten years on the criminal damage to property charges.

However, the judge told Oglesby he must continue to take his medication, have no contact with the victims, attend all doctors appointments, and make restitution totaling $3,000. Craig said if Oglesby violated even one of the conditions of probation, he would spend the rest of his sentence in prison.