JANESVILLE - It has been over 1,500 days since a Beloit man was charged in the brutal stabbing death of his roommate in June of 2015. On Thursday, he was sentenced to the maximum allowable penalty for the specific charge.
Percy L. Oliver, 73, pleaded no contest on May 30 to second-degree reckless homicide.
He appeared Thursday before Rock County Judge Michael Haakenson who sentenced him to 15 years in prison with 10 years post-release supervision. Oliver's defense had asked for five years in prison and 10 years of supervision before Haakenson announced the sentence. Throughout the case, Oliver's mental and physical health bogged down the process, with the court ordering a half-dozen competency evaluations. However, mental health experts have given their opinions that Oliver has been feigning memory issues and physical disability.
Oliver argued with and stabbed roommate David Banks, 51, on the night of June 20, 2015. He locked Banks in a closet, where he died of his injuries. Oliver then took Banks' body from the closet to the apartment's fire escape where he threw him over from multiple stories up. Police later recovered a kitchen knife in the home, with tests showing Oliver's DNA was on the knife's handle and Banks' blood was on the blade, according to court records.
Before sentencing Oliver, Haakenson listened while Assistant District Attorney Rich Sullivan ran through the laundry list of crimes Oliver had been convicted of prior to the 2015 homicide. According to the pre-sentence investigation, Oliver has been convicted of 13 felonies and seven misdemeanors since 1963, including crimes of attempted murder and sexual assault of a child.
"We are here because of his choices, and yet in his 70s, he refuses to take responsibility for his actions," Sullivan said.
Defense attorney Walter Isaacson said Oliver and Banks had a "humane relationship," but said Sullivan had rightly pointed out Oliver's crimes. Isaacson said Oliver's physical health has declined since 2015.
When given time to speak, Oliver mumbled to the point where Haakenson had to leave the bench and approach the defense's table where Oliver was seated. Oliver's comments were wide-ranging, culminating with him denying that he had killed Banks.
According to court records, Oliver told Overflowing Cup pastor William "Butch" Martin of an argument the pair had a night prior to the murder. Oliver called Martin and explained that the argument was because Banks made sexual advances on him. When asked by Martin where Banks was, Oliver responded, "In the closet."
In his reasoning for issuing the maximum sentence to Oliver, Haakenson said he found the evidence in the case to be "overwhelming."
Oliver has 20 days to appeal Thursday's decision, Haakenson said.