Archive for Tuesday, January 1, 2002

Wichitan guilty of four murders

Killer likely will receive two ‘hard 50’ sentences

January 1, 2002

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— Jurors convicted Cornelius Oliver of four counts of murder on Monday, but spared his life by declining to find him guilty of capital murder.

The jury deliberated about 16 hours before convicting Oliver, 19, of felony murder for the deaths of his girlfriend, Raeshawnda Wheaton, 18, and her roommate, Odessa Ford, 17, and first-degree murder for the deaths of Ford's cousin, Quincy Williams, 17, and Jermaine Levy, 19.

All four were found dead Dec. 7, 2000, when a friend went to a home that Ford was renting. The victims had all been shot in the head.

Besides an acquittal, jurors had their choice of convictions for capital murder, first-degree murder, or felony murder. A capital murder conviction would have required the death penalty.

Oliver will be sentenced Jan. 25. He could get two consecutive "hard 50" sentences for the first-degree murder convictions, meaning he wouldn't be eligible for parole until he serves 50 years on each sentence.

Part of the testimony included a teary, rambling taped confession from Oliver, although he testified during the trial that he had lied when talking to police.

Earl Bell II is also charged with murder in the slayings. His trial is scheduled for this month.

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