Oliver shot Solomon Zellner with a 9 mm handgun in July 2011 while the two were at their Lithonia home.
He claimed the shooting was accidental and refused to plead guilty to felony murder and aggravated assault on Aug. 13 at a pre-trial hearing.
On Aug. 27, he pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter.
DeKalb Superior Court Judge Cynthia J. Becker accepted the negotiated plea deal and sentenced Oliver to serve every day of the 10-year sentence. The judge also ordered him to complete his GED in prison.
Solomon, a rising second-grader at Fairington Elementary School, was shot at the Salem Glen Road home where he and Oliver lived. His mother and Oliver’s aunt, Angela Ramos, was in the house at the time of shooting but in a different room.
Ruth McMullen, Oliver’s defense attorney, tried to have him convicted as a first offender, but Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney Darius Pattillo told the judge that Oliver was acting recklessly with the gun, pointing it “inches away” from his young cousin’s head.
“We do believe it was an accidental discharge,” Pattillo said. “We don’t believe Mr. Oliver intended to kill his cousin; however the gross recklessness and conscious disregard of human life really makes the state feel that this is not the type of case that warrants first-offender treatment.”
Ramos told the judge that she still cares for Oliver but is still working on forgiving him.
“It’s hard, but he’s a child,” she said. “I don’t want to see him lose his whole life, but he still needs to pay the consequence.”