Local News

Ex-Teacher Gets Prison in Woman's Stabbing

Posted January 18, 2008

— A former high school teacher was sentenced Friday to at least 13 years in prison after admitting that he stabbed his former girlfriend last year.

Michael Orlando Olliver, 48, of 115 Ramblewood Drive, pleaded guilty last week to attempted murder in the Feb. 20 stabbing of Erica Shariss Jennings. Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens sentenced him to between 156 and 197 months in prison, about three years less than the maximum range that prosecutors sought.

Jennings, 38, was stabbed repeatedly inside her townhouse near Cove Bridge Road. She ran from door to door in her apartment complex, leaving a trail of blood, before finding someone to drive her to the hospital.

"He didn't say a word. He just ran up to me, stabbed me in my chest. ... and the blood just poured out," she said in court Friday. "I didn't think I was going to make it."

Jennings said Olliver stalked her for weeks before the incident, calling her at work and on her cell phone and beating on her doors and windows. She got a restraining order against him a few days before she was stabbed.

"I could see him standing off to the side, just watching me, just standing there waiting for me to die," she said.

Neighbor Christopher Hicks was leaving for work that morning when he saw a bloody Jennings outside the apartment building. He drove her to WakeMed with his 2-year-old son in the car.

She was critically injured and wasn't expected to live. But she pulled through after several surgeries. The trauma left her with no peripheral vision.

"Nobody in this courtroom knows what I had to deal with and what I still have to deal with from him stabbing me," she said Friday. "I really think he is a menace to society."

Olliver was arrested in Georgetown, S.C., several hours after the stabbing.

Harvard Jennings called his daughter's assailant "a beast without a soul."

"I'm a man, not a monster," Olliver responded in court. "What happened that day – that morning – was out of my character."

A former high school and college basketball star, Olliver taught physical education at Southern Wayne High School and coached the basketball team from 2000 to 2004.

He made headlines in 2004 as a father helping his son battle a rare medical condition. WRAL profiled him when a rare virus temporarily paralyzed his son, Mikey, from the waist down. Mikey Olliver was eventually able to walk and play basketball again and is now a student at Shaw University.

"I have made a terrible mistake in my life. I regret it more than anything in this world," Olliver said in court. "I've been waiting a year to say it. I'm so sorry this happened to you. I know it means nothing today, but maybe someday it will."

His brother also apologized to Jennings and her family Friday and asked for a lenient sentence, saying he believes Olliver suffers from depression.

"Let him be able to give back to society," Valla Olliver said.

But the judge said Michael Olliver's skills as a teacher and motivator weren't the reason for Friday's court hearing.

"By the grace of God, this man is not being tried for first-degree murder. It just wasn't her time," Stephens said.

Alonzo Thomas, who used to coach with Michael Olliver, said his friend deserved a chance to redeem himself.

"Good people sometimes do bad things. I think everybody deserves a second chance," Thomas said.

But Elisha Jennings said her sister's assailant shouldn't be given a second chance.

"Many women have lost their lives because people like you are given second chances," Elisha Jennings told Olliver in court.

"I can understand and I can believe the family had no idea he was capable of this crime," Stephens said in handing down the sentence. "Maybe he didn't even know he was capable of this crime."


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  • Mom2two Jan 18, 2008

    What I found interesting was his quote, "I've been waiting a year to say it. I'm so sorry this happened to you." Provided that it was indeed a direct quote and not a paraphase by the media, it speaks volumes because it shows absolutely no culpability on his part. Someone who was truly sorry, would be sorry "that I did this to you." I am sorry that all the citizens of New Orleans had Katrina happen to them, but I didn't cause it, I am simply sympathetic.

  • Viewer Jan 18, 2008

    For his crime, he got off easy.

  • Meandmytwo Jan 18, 2008

    Glad that he got his day in court. He deserves more than 13 years. This lady almost lost her life. He has nothing to give back to society but labor of had work and no "PAY"!!!

  • bronzegoddess40 Jan 18, 2008

    He deserves prison because he stalked this woman and stabbed her. If he wants to give back so desperately then he will pull his time and think about how stupid he was and also he can teach his fellow inmates that they too should have thought before they reacted committed the acts that they did. And I don't agree with a lenient sentence, give him the full punishment and maybe if someone else tries this mess, then they will see what will happen to them. God Bless his ex girlfriend and I wish her the best.

  • iwideopen Jan 18, 2008

    How sad that he did not have the emotional strength to just walk away from a woman who obviously did not want to continue a relationship with him anymore. Come on guys there are plenty of other fish in the sea !!!

  • Dr. Dataclerk Jan 18, 2008

    What a waste. He knew exactly what he was doing. By the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ she is alive because of Him. I wish her the very best life can give her. As for him time spent in prison is what he needs. If put back on the streets it may be your love one next. Stop making excuses for this person. It do not help the situation or the person.

  • luvwhljr.neways Jan 18, 2008

    I went to high school with Olliver and have had dealings with him in adult life. I also worked with a lady he dated in the past. I personally always liked Mike. But the lady he dated back then made my opinion change. Something happened to him. He changed and he isn't the Mike I knew and respected.

  • Tired Of Excuses Jan 18, 2008

    He stalked this woman, beat down her door and STABBED her in the chest. Why on Earth would we want a man who is capable of that allowed to be in society? It's because of second chances and the court not taking matters like this seriously that woman are dying at the hands of men who just can't let go and want to control. Come on guys, if the woman doesn't want you anymore let her go and find someone else.

  • Tired Of Excuses Jan 18, 2008

    He suffers from depression therefore the court should show give him a lighter sentence? Unbelievable. He tried to take her LIFE, there for he should get the same so that another woman doesn't have to suffer from his "depression".

  • Funky Neighbor LEE Jan 18, 2008

    "Let him be able to give back to society,"

    I don't know that I'd want what he'd be giving back.