Suspect in Bluffton Christmas Eve fatal shooting freed on bond

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Suspect in Bluffton Christmas Eve fatal shooting freed on bond

Published Wednesday, August 31, 2011   |  461 Words  |  

The tow truck operator charged with voluntary manslaughter in the shooting death of a Bluffton man during a Christmas Eve parking dispute was released on bond from the Beaufort County Detention at about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, according to the jail's log.

Preston Oates, 27, of Bluffton, is charged in connection with the shooting death of Carlos Alberto Olivera, 34, also of Bluffton.

Bond terms require that Oates be under house arrest and accompanied by a family member at an unidentified location. That location, a site outside Beaufort County but inside South Carolina, already has been chosen by his family and his lawyers. The Solicitor's and Beaufort County Sheriff's offices know the location, but it will not be made public.

A Beaufort County Solicitor's Office employee will telephone once a week to verify Oates is at the site. Oates is not allowed to leave the property unless he has a court appearance, an appointment with his lawyers or an emergency medical situation.

He also is ordered to stay away from the Olivera family.

Oates was required to undergo a psychiatric evaluation to determine if he was a danger to himself or others during a bond hearing July 28, Judge Thomas Cooper ruled. Bond was set at $200,000.

The evaluation was scheduled for Aug. 12, according to Oates' attorneys Jared Newman and Don Colongeli.

Oates, former co-owner of Pro Tow, has been in the Beaufort County Detention Center since Dec. 27, three days after the shooting death of Olivera. He was denied bond on the manslaughter charge on Jan. 28.

On March 20, he was charged with attempted escape and malicious injury to a jail. Police say he used a light switch metal face plate to cut a 4- to 5-inch slice in the bottom of his cell's Plexiglas window. A trial date on those charges has not been set.

Attempts to reach Colongeli were unsuccessful Wednesday.

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Bond set in deadly Christmas Eve tow truck incident, July 28, 2011

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Oates on suicide watch, ordered to 60 days of seclusion after jail-break attempt , March 29, 2011