Carlos Olivera's family reacts to Preston Oates conviction

Published: Jun. 19, 2014 at 11:38 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 19, 2014 at 11:38 PM EDT
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BEAUFORT, SC (WTOC) - Carlos Olivera's family spoke on Thursday of the guilty verdict of Preston Oates, the tow truck driver who shot Olivera in front of his brother's home on Christmas Eve in 2010.

A 12 member jury convicted Oates of voluntary manslaughter and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime.

The event occurred over three and a half years ago, and it was very tense in the courtroom leading up to the jury's decision.

The jury was unanimous in its decision to convict Oates, and several members of Olivera's family shed tears and breathed sighs of relief when they heard the verdict.

Oates' pregnant fiancé cried in the courtroom while he continued to not show any emotion until the judge was ready to sentence him. No one from Oates' family spoke, but he asked his attorney to express his regrets to the Olivera family for what happened.

The Olivera family hoped for a murder conviction because they believed he deserved to be in prison for killing an innocent man.

It's a big relief for the Olivera family to know that one murderer is behind bars because he's a danger to society," said Nelson Olivera, Carlos' brother. "Manslaughter, it's not the best, but at least again, he's away."

"I feel happy and sad at the same time because we got justice, but not what we actually expect," said Carlos' wife Zabdi Olivera. "It's not easy to tell four kids that we got justice for only 26 years. That's not enough for kids to grow up without a dad, without somebody to be right there for them."

Both the prosecution and the family said they didn't believe anything that Oates ever said.

Judge Brooks Goldsmith sentenced him to a concurrent term of 26 years for both crimes.

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