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Officials defend delay in tow-truck shooting suspect's arrest

Dec 30, 2010 7:13:00 AM - thestate.com
Beaufort County Sheriff's Office deputies investigating the shooting death of a Bluffton man by a tow truck operator Christmas Eve did not file charges for nearly three days because they needed to "thoroughly investigate" the incident, according to Sheriff P.J. Tanner.

Preston Ryan Oates, 27, of Bluffton and co-owner of Pro Tow, was arrested about 5 p.m. Monday on charges of manslaughter and felony possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime. Carlos Alberto Olivera, 34, was shot six times -- four times in the back, once in the arm and once in the head -- during an argument over a boot on a minivan Friday on Live Oak Walk in Edgefield.

Oates, who was initially questioned by deputies that night and later released, said he acted in self-defense. He was arrested following a second interview with investigators, Tanner said.

"Our job is to thoroughly and properly investigate the allegations of a crime, and if the investigation supports criminal charges, we make an arrest," Tanner said Wednesday. "Our goal is a guilty conviction. There is no timeline."

14th Circuit Court Solicitor Duffie Stone said Wednesday he was pleased with momentum of the Sheriff's Office investigation.

USA, South Carolina: (Latest Stories)