Second suspect pleads guilty in Olivares case

A murder charge is dropped in exchange for testimony against other defendants.
Wednesday, October 5, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 1:43 a.m. CDT, Sunday, July 6, 2008

The second of four people accused in the January death of Fernando Olivares has pleaded guilty to robbery and burglary charges in exchange for her testimony at her co-defendants’ trials.

Amy Garrison, 32, of Columbia accepted a plea bargain Tuesday in which the prosecution agreed to drop a charge of second-degree murder. Garrison pleaded guilty to second-degree robbery and first-degree burglary.

Assistant Prosecutor Dan Knight said he would recommend concurrent prison sentences of 15 and five years without probation.

In a similar agreement last month, Julian Jackman, 29, pleaded guilty to first-degree robbery, for which Knight said he would recommend 20 years in prison without probation.

Walter Harris, 40, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder and first-degree robbery. His trial is set for Dec. 6. Both Garrison and Jackman have agreed to testify against him as part of their plea bargains.

Olivares, 48, died Jan. 15 of injuries suffered one week earlier, when he was beaten and robbed by three people who invaded his home.

Michael Williams, 24, worked as a garbage collector with Olivares. Authorities say Williams had heard that Olivares was keeping a large sum of money in his home.

Knight said Garrison drove the three men to Olivares’ home on Monroe Street on Jan. 8.

Garrison knocked on the front door and asked Olivares’ wife, Deborah, if she could come in to use the telephone, Knight said. Meanwhile, the three masked men barged in the door with handguns while Garrison waited in the car, he said.

Olivares was beaten severely and died at University Hospital one week later. Knight said Garrison drove the group back to Jackman’s residence after the incident.

Williams’ case is not yet set for trial.

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