Robert “Chip” Olsen was convicted by DeKalb County jurors of aggravated assault and other charges but was spared from two felony murder charges.
He faces up to 35 years in prison. Olsen’s wife, Kathy, left the courtroom crying as the verdict was read. Judge LaTisha Dear Jackson set Olsen’s bond at $80,000 and ordered him to wear an ankle monitor and adhere to a curfew.
Robert “Chip” Olsen is escorted out of the courtroom after being found not guilty of felony murder for his trial in front of DeKalb County Superior Court Judge LaTisha Dear Jackson at the DeKalb County Courthouse in Decatur, Ga. ,on Monday. Olsen was convicted of aggravated assault and other charges that could potentially send him to prison for more than 30 years. (Alyssa Pointer/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP, Pool)
Olsen was charged in the death of Anthony Hill, 26, an Air Force veteran who’d received diagnoses of bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. The former officer responded to the Chamblee apartment complex March 9, 2015, after the property manager called the police saying Hill was half-naked and acting strangely.
Hill’s parents asked the judge to deny any bond.
“It’s been four years that we’ve been waiting for this,” said his mother, Carolyn Giummo. “My son is no longer here. … I just feel like it’s time now.”
Hill was squatting when Olsen arrived and ran toward his patrol car, several witnesses testified.
Olsen yelled, “Stop! Stop!” before shooting Hill twice, witnesses said. Prosecutors alleged Olsen used unnecessary deadly force, while defense attorneys argued he had little information about the situation and was frightened.
They said he had mere seconds to make a tough decision.
The verdict came days after a judge sentenced former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger to 10 years in prison for fatally shooting Botham Jean in his apartment in September 2018. Guyger claimed she mistook Jean’s unit for hers and thought he was a burglar.
Carolyn Giummo reacts as the jury reads the verdict for the Robert “Chip” Olsen trial in front of DeKalb County Superior Court Judge LaTisha Dear Jackson at the DeKalb County Courthouse in Decatur, Ga. on Monday. (Alyssa Pointer/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP, Pool)
DeKalb County District Attorney Sherry Boston cited the difficulties in prosecuting police officers in cases similar to Olsen’s.
“I can’t speculate as to what was in all those jurors’ minds, but I think all of you know that these cases are very difficult, not just here in Georgia but across the United States,” Boston said.
In addition to aggravated assault, Olsen was convicted of violating his oath of office and one count of making a false statement. He is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 1.