A federal appeals court has refused to consider the appeal of a Wichita man convicted of killing four people in 2000.
The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Friday that Cornelius Oliver waited too long to seek federal relief after the Kansas Supreme Court made his convictions final in December 2005.
The Kansas Supreme Court had upheld Oliver’s four first-degree murder convictions and his life sentence for each. Because a judge ordered him to serve the sentences consecutively, the 23-year-old Oliver wouldn’t be eligible for parole for 150 years.
The shootings occurred in Dec. 7, 2000, in a duplex in the 1100 block of North Erie, near Ninth and Hillside, where Oliver’s estranged girlfriend, 18-year-old Raeshawnda Wheaton, lived. Wheaton was killed, as were her roommate, 17-year-old Odessa “Dessa” Ford; Ford’s cousin, 17-year-old Quincy Williams; and another man, 19-year-old Jermaine Levy.
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According to news accounts, Oliver shot and killed Wheaton as she clutched a pillow and cowered in a bedroom, begging for her life and saying “I love you. I love you.” Her three friends were killed prior. Ford was gunned down as she tried to escape; Williams and Levy were shot in the back of the head as they sat on a couch playing a video game.
Relatives found their bodies.
Oliver was arrested at his brother’s house later Dec. 7, with blood still on his shoes. He confessed to the killings.
A second man, Earl Bell II, also was charged with four counts of murder but was acquitted at trial because there was no evidence he had fired a gun. Oliver admitted to emptying the rounds in his pistol on Williams, Levy and Ford, then said he took Bell’s gun and went after Wheaton.
Oliver was 19 at the time of the killings. He is now 31. He is a special management inmate at Hutchinson Correctional Facility, according to Kansas Department of Corrections records posted online.
His earliest possible release date listed is Dec. 8, 2140.
Oliver’s victims have been called the “Forgotten Four” by some in Wichita because about a week after the shootings media attention turned to another local quadruple homicide – this one perpetrated by brothers Jonathan and Reginald Carr.
Contributing: Amy Renee Leiker of The Eagle