Beaufort County Detention Center officials will decide next week how Preston Oates, a Bluffton tow-truck driver jailed after a fatal Christmas Eve shooting, will be punished after he allegedly tried to escape.
Phil Foot, the jail's director, said the investigation into Sunday's incident was not completed in time to hold a disciplinary hearing today, as originally planned.
The hearing, likely to be held Tuesday, will determine what penalties Oates will face, including whether he would be placed under maximum security, Foot said.
According to arrest warrants, Oates spent about 10 days cutting a 4- to 5-inch hole in the bottom half of the cell's 3-foot-by-3-foot window using the metal faceplate from the cell's light switch. He was caught Sunday by a guard on routine patrol outside the jail who heard a grinding sound coming from Oates' window, according to authorities.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Island Packet
Oates is charged with malicious injury to property and attempted escape. His bond on both charges was set at $120,000 during a hearing Tuesday, according to the jail log.
Oates faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted of trying to escape and up to 30 days in prison for damaging his cell.
Foot said Oates has been transferred to a different cell while workers replace the window, which is not made of glass but of "corrections-grade material."
Oates was denied bond Jan. 28 on a voluntary manslaughter charge for allegedly shooting and killing Bluffton resident Carlos Alberto Olivera, 34, on Christmas Eve during a towing dispute. Oates was also charged with possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime.
He faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted of the manslaughter charge and at least five years in prison on the weapons charge, according to state law.