Charges upgraded in Preston Oates trial - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Charges upgraded in Preston Oates trial


Charges have been upgraded in the trial of a tow truck driver accused of killing a Bluffton man back on Christmas Eve 2010.

Preston Oates now faces murder charges in the shooting death of 34-year-old Carlos Olivera.

Most of Monday was spent on jury selection - and 12 jurors and two alternates have been chosen for the trial.

At one point, the majority of potential jurors stood up when Judge Brooks Goldsmith asked if anyone had seen any media coverage of the case prior to today.

There was no mention about the murder charges until after the potential jury pool dismissed for lunch.

From what WTOC found out, the state filed it "under seal" earlier this year.

Prosecutors said Oates killed Olivera after trying to tow his car in the Edgefield subdivision in Bluffton. Oates has claimed self defense, saying that Olivera flashed a gun at him while he was trying to put a boot on Olivera's van.

This is going to be an intense trial with dozens of witnesses, especially law enforcement, for the prosecution.

Oates appeared very calm and relaxed when he walked into court, even wearing sunglasses inside at first.

Several members of Olivera's family also attended jury selection.

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