W. Wright Gammon Jr. of Gammon Anderson & McFall in Cedartown won an acquittal Thursday for a retired mechanic accused of attempted murder for shooting someone in the back, who was running away.
The key to the story Gammon told for the jury was why his client fired.
Jerry Oglesby, 68, was on trial for attempted murder, facing life in prison, “which would have been a death sentence for him,” Gammon said.
But a Haralson County Superior Court jury found him not guilty on all counts related to the November 2016 shooting.
The trouble started long before the shooting. Oglesby had a volatile relationship with a woman who sometimes lived with him in his trailer on the brow of Cobb Mountain in Haralson County, Gammon said. When they fought, she called 911 to report him for abusing her. When the police came, he had the bruises to prove it was she who was hitting him, not the other way around, Gammon said.
Still, she came back, and they fought again. The last time she moved out, he told her not to come back. But she came back the next evening—with her 41-year-old son. She said she had forgotten her medicine. Oglesby handed it to her—or tossed it at her—from the porch, depending on which witness was recounting. Oglesby said the son then hit him in the head. The son said Oglesby knocked him down, according to the indictment. Oglesby went inside and came back to the door with a gun, telling them to get off his property, according to Gammon.
According to Gammon, Oglesby told the story to the jury: The son ran away—not toward the vehicle he arrived in with his mother but toward his old truck, which he had left at Oglesby’s home for repairs. Oglesby told the jury he knew the son had left a gun in the truck.
Gammon said Oglesby testified: “I didn’t see why he needed to be running to that broke-down vehicle unless it was to get the gun out, and I didn’t think I needed to let him get it.”
To break the ice with the jury, Gammon said he started his direct examination by having Oglesby tell the story. Noting the difficulty of making a 40-foot shot at a running target in the dark after being hit in the head, Gammon said, “I asked him if he was a good shot.”
Gammon said Oglesby replied: “I never shot that gun much. One night a possum was eating the cat’s food. I shot five times. The possum finally jumped off the porch. I missed him every time.”
The son wasn’t killed. But he was badly hurt and partially paralyzed.
“I will forever believe that was the luckiest and unluckiest shot ever made,” Gammon said.
Tallapoosa Circuit District Attorney Oliver Jackson “Jack” Browning Jr. said he was trying another murder case this week and was unavailable to comment.
The story of the trial is one the defense attorney will likely be telling for a long time. “It takes you back to what the practice of law is supposed to be about,” Gammon said. “Humans.”