YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — It took just 12 seconds on a humid Friday night on the North Side last August to change two lives forever.
Ed Hartwig, the attorney for Jacques Peterman Oliver, 45, said that’s the amount of time it took for his client to change a self-defense case to a manslaughter case.
Peterman Oliver was sentenced Tuesday to 10 to 13 and a half years in prison after pleading guilty on Dec. 28 to charges of voluntary manslaughter and being a felon in possession of a firearm for the Aug. 26 shooting death of Cameron Dyer, 36, at a gas station at Logan and Saranac avenues.
Prosecutors were seeking a sentence of 14 to 16 and a half years.
Assistant Prosecutor Rob Andrews said prosecutors agreed to reduce a murder charge to manslaughter because it appeared that Dyer was at first the aggressor that night.
Video footage shows Dyer approaching a car Peterman Oliver was in, and the two had words. Dyer reaches into the car and takes something out and then two shots are fired, Andrews said.
As Dyer lies on the ground, Peterman Oliver shot him seven more times, then put his body into his car and drove him to the police department, where he turned himself in.
“What started as a potential self-defense went well beyond that,” Andrews said.
Hartwig, however, said Andrews’ recitation was wrong. He said Peterman Oliver was “ambushed,” and that Dyer left his car running and rushed over to his client’s car.
Hartwig said his client was afraid for his life when he shot after, both when he was leaning into the car and on the ground. The whole sequence took about 12 seconds, Hartwig said.
“Did it go too far? It did,” Hartwig said.
Hartwig said his client has been married for 27 years, served in the U.S. Marines and worked the same job for 16 years. He put Dyer in his car because of the medical training he received in the Marines.
Reading from a statement via video hookup from the county jail, Peterman Oliver said he was very sorry for what happened but he added he feared for his life.
“From the time he reached into my vehicle, I was consumed with fear,” Peterman Oliver said.
Peterman Oliver said Dyer leaned into his car and said Peterman Oliver “disrespected” him. He told Peterman Oliver he had a gun also and when he reached in he ripped two chains off Peterman Oliver’s neck.
Peterman Oliver fired, and when Dyer was on the ground, he thought Dyer still had a gun so he fired again, he said.
Dyer did not have a gun, and when detectives told him that, Peterman Oliver said he was “devastated.”
Peterman Oliver was going to take Dyer to the hospital but changed his mind because he was afraid police may shoot him, he said. He called 911 and was on the phone the entire time until he got to the police station.
Peterman Oliver repeated he was sorry for Dyer’s family and said if they could have talked, they could have worked out their differences.
“We went through this for no reason,” Peterman Oliver said.
Dyer’s daughter also spoke, saying her father was a great father and she misses him.
“I’m lost because I lost my dad,” she said. “He was a good father. He treated everyone nicely. I’m upset but I’m not so upset,” then she walked away abruptly from the podium.
Judge Krichbaum said it appeared Dyer was the aggressor and Peterman Oliver had a right to defend himself, but he went too far.
“Unfortunately for you, the law doesn’t allow you to go as far as you did,” Judge Krichbaum said. “It’s just another sad story of what happens in our city way too often.”