After being called a “cop killer waiting to happen” for various violent episodes over two decades, Reginald Ogletree was sentenced to 20 years in prison Thursday for the 2012 near-fatal beating of a fellow patient at East Central Regional Hospital.
Ogletree, 40, who is from Macon and only resided in Augusta for treatment, pleaded not guilty in Richmond County Superior Court to the charge of aggravated assault and represented himself throughout the three-day trial.
Before returning a guilty verdict within two hours of deliberation, the 15-member jury heard Ogletree testify he had been set up by hospital staff and was the target of a conspiracy by the state of Georgia.
“My stature is strong, my demeanor is strong, but it’s a curse and quickly judged,” said Ogletree, who was flanked by four court bailiffs during closing arguments and wore a stun device on his left ankle as a precaution. “Wrong clothes, wrong place, and you’re the bad guy if you’re Mr. Ogletree. All the witnesses that came and testified against me work for the state of Georgia. Every last one of them. Something like an illegal conspiracy, wouldn’t you say?”
When Judge Daniel J. Craig handed down the 20-year sentence without the possibility of parole, Ogletree dropped his head and looked toward his mother sitting in the courtroom.
“Momma, I didn’t hit that boy,” he said.
Assistant District Attorney John Markwalter argued Ogletree was in a communal restroom at East Central Regional on June 17, 2012, when fellow patient Michael McDaniel entered and was attacked.
Staff heard loud banging from the bathroom within seconds and found McDaniel on the floor bleeding from his mouth and ear. Another staff member testified this week she heard Ogletree later say he did beat McDaniel “and there is nothing you can do about it.”
McDaniel spent the next three months in a coma and had to relearn how to walk, talk and feed himself. His sister Dorothea Miller said McDaniel today does not lead a normal life and can not take care of himself or his young child without help.
“Michael’s life has been changed forever by this,” Miller said. “He will never be able to function the same.”
During the trial, Markwalter presented victims from Ogletree’s past as witnesses to detail the results of his “explosive temper.”
In 1994, Ogletree dislocated the rotator cuff of Macon-Bibb County sheriff’s Sgt. Keith Williams when the officer went to assist with a domestic call at Ogletree’s home, for which he was charged and convicted of felony obstruction of a law enforcement officer.
In 2002, Ogletree got into a physical battle with Macon police officer Matt Perry after he was stopped for speeding on Interstate 16. Perry testified this week Ogletree threatened to kill him and his family after the arrest.
Weeks later at the Macon tag office, Ogletree verbally attacked a tag office worker and told her “That’s how people like you get killed,” Markwalter said.
In 2008, Ogletree was again arrested after Macon police officer Jesse Thompson confronted him in a known drug area and Ogletree resisted arrest for two hours, damaging the squad car.
“The only way to keep the community safe is to warehouse him for as long as he can be warehoused,” Markwalter said.
Before sentencing, Ogletree’s mother, who said she had colon and breast cancer, testified her son had turned his life around and that she did not want to see him die in prison.
McDaniel, who was present in the courtroom, did not speak. However his brother, Chris, said the lives of his family members had been ruined by the injury.
“(Ogletree) needs to be locked away so he can’t do this to anybody else,” Chris McDaniel said.