A Chatsworth, Ga., man pleaded guilty to malice murder on Thursday and was given a life prison sentence for the killing of his estranged wife.
Oliver Scott Cannon, 58, appeared before Superior Court Judge William T. Boyett.
Cannon had been scheduled for a jury trial in February, but changed his plea after an agreement was reached between the District Attorney’s Office and his attorney, Alicia Lanier Shurley of Rome. Cannon was also assistant by Summerville attorney Steven Miller.
Numerous members of the victim’s family were present for the plea, many having submitted written victim impact statements to the court. The victim’s daughter, Lorie Basler, also spoke to the court prior to sentencing.
Cannon did not make any statement.
Cannon was arrested on Sept. 25, 2017, after shooting Johnnie Cannon once through the heart. The victim had left Cannon due to his prescription pill abuse and was living with her brother, James Earl Shoemaker, at 30 Highland Way on the day of her death.
District Attorney Bert Poston said Cannon obtained a firearm without consent from another family member’s residence and traveled to Highland Way where he knocked on the door and asked to speak with the victim. After she agreed to step outside to speak to him, Cannon began arguing with her and ultimately produced the hand gun and shot her. Cannon then fled the scene and returned to his residence on Holly Creek Drive where he engaged in a prolonged stand-off with law enforcement. That stand-off ended when Cannon shot himself in the jaw in an apparent but unsuccessful suicide attempt and then came out and surrendered.
Prior to arrest, Cannon was transported for emergency medical care where he underwent significant surgery to repair his jaw.
Had the case gone to trial, the court could have sentenced Cannon to life without parole. However, under the standard life sentence given, Cannon will have to serve 30 years from the date of his arrest before being considered for parole. He was 57 at the time of his arrest so he would be 87 before he could be considered for release.
The victim’s family approved of and supported the negotiated plea to resolve the case without a trial, it was stated.