Terrence Oliver – Calvert County Sheriff’s Office File Photo

Prince Frederick, MD =  A Huntingtown man who pled guilty to the first-degree assault of a female friend last September has been sentenced to 25 years in prison Monday, April 13 in Calvert County Circuit Court. Judge Mark Chandlee suspended all but seven years of the jail term for the defendant, Terrence Devaughn Oliver, 45, who also faces five years of supervised probation. Oliver, who has been behind bars since his arrest Sept. 5, will be given credit for time served. Chandlee is recommending Oliver be sent to Patuxent Institute to deal with drug, alcohol, psychological and anger management issues.

Oliver was originally charged with attempted first-degree murder, kidnapping and carjacking, in addition to assault stemming from an incident that started outside the victim’s Huntingtown home.

“The defendant is like a wolf in sheep’s clothing,” said Assistant State’s Attorney Jennifer Morton at the beginning of the sentencing hearing. In advance of the testimony of four individuals—including a retired school teacher and local agri-businessman—Morton told the court “there are positive things to say about the defendant.” Morton quickly added that Oliver “has a moderate criminal record” and “has a tendency to blame others” for his problems.

According to police reports, the victim was accosted by Oliver Sept. 5 shortly after 1 a.m. as she was returning home. The defendant began beating the victim, pushed her to the ground and attempted to choke her. He subsequently tied her up, put her in her vehicle and drove it to Hagerstown. During the drive, Oliver was threatening to kill himself. Later, shortly after 9 a.m., Oliver released the victim at Anne Arundel Medical Center where she was treated for her injuries. Oliver surrendered to police that afternoon.

Morton told the court the crime was premeditated. “This was not a case where the defendant suddenly lost control,” said the prosecutor, who added Oliver was jealous over the fact the victim was seeing another man and was waiting for her to return home.

Morton played a recording of the victim’s interview with police. “He told me if he can’t have me no one else will,” the defendant told investigators. “He and I had the understanding that we were just friends.”

“The victim thought she was going to die,” said Morton, who noted the victim was in the courtroom but did not wish to address the court. The prosecutor also noted that due to several threatening texts sent by Oliver to the victim prior to the Sept. 5 incident, a peace order had been obtained.

“This isn’t an easy case,” said defense attorney Crea Axley Jacobson. Referring to her client as a “gentleman,” Jacobson noted that while Oliver has had prior brushes with the law, he does not have a record of violent behavior. “He [Oliver] made the worst decision of his life,” said Jacobson.  “He went there to talk to her.”

“There are things that upset him but he’s never been a violent person,” said Gail Reid, Oliver’s employer and landlady. I think he’s very aware he made a mistake.” Reid told the court that neighborhood residents have not shunned Oliver in light of the incident and in fact held a community fundraiser to help pay his legal expenses.

The defendant’s cousin, Vaughn Thomas, testified that he spoke with Oliver via cellphone when the defendant and victim were en route back from Hagerstown. Thomas convinced Oliver not to kill himself and to drop the victim off at the hospital.
Morton recommended Oliver be given 14 years in jail and five years of probation.

Jacobson asked Chandlee to consider electronic monitoring or one that was at the bottom of the guidelines.

“I didn’t mean to hurt her,” Oliver told the court. “I made a terrible, terrible mistake I wish I could take back.”

“You couldn’t have been better represented,” Chandlee told Oliver regarding the individuals who spoke on his behalf.  However, the judge noted Oliver violated a protective order when he went to the victim’s home. “I think you were a ticking time bomb,” said Chandlee. Of the victim, the judge declared, “she was terrorized. She’s a victim in every sense of the word. People need to feel safe in our community.”

Contact Marty Madden at marty.madden@thebaynet.com