Crime

Rock Hill man grabbed his baby, girlfriend with knife in Clover. Next stop is prison.

A Rock Hill man who broke into the Clover home of his baby’s mother, then took them both at knifepoint, was sentenced to five years in prison.

Matthew Ezekiel Oliver, 21, pleaded guilty Friday to burglary and domestic violence for the May 2018 incident. Oliver was found in Rock Hill after he used a ladder to get into the Clover home, prosecutors said.

Oliver pleaded guilty under an Alford plea because testimony Friday showed he disputed some of the facts presented by prosecutors. In an Alford plea, a defendant accepts the punishment of a guilty plea without being required to admit guilt.

Oliver also was ordered to the addiction treatment unit in South Carolina prison during his sentence.

In court, Oliver cried and admitted he made bad choices that had him waking up in lockdown in a jail cell instead of being with his son. Oliver had been jailed for 15 months since his arrest.

“I know I’ve done wrong,” Oliver said in court. “This is not the life I wanted. I want to be a father to my son. I’m sorry.”

Oliver faced up to 35 years in prison under the plea deal. Burglary carries up to 15 years, and domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature carries up to 20 years.

Oliver initially faced charges of kidnapping and weapons crimes, but those charges were dropped as part of a negotiated plea with Oliver’s lawyers, Michael Brown and Zachary Merritt.

Prosecutor Corissa Golla, 16th Circuit assistant solicitor, said in court that Oliver climbed through a window and threatened the teenage mother of his son with a knife. Oliver then took both to Rock Hill, where the mother and child were found unhurt by police.

Golla asked for a sentence of 12 years, saying the victim had the courage to leave Oliver in the days before the incident. Golla said Oliver was on probation for a previous domestic violence against a different woman before this incident.

“This man has a pattern of violence toward women,” Golla said. “He brought to life a parent’s worst nightmare...The state supports this woman who had the courage to leave.”

The victim said in court she and her son still have nightmares from the incident. The Herald is not naming the victim.

Brown said in court that Oliver had convinced the victim to leave voluntarily and the only physical threat was the possibility that Oliver may harm himself.

Brown asked for a sentence of three to four years in prison or a suspended sentence with forced drug rehabilitation after agreeing that Oliver should plead guilty.

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