A Santa Barbara jury found Slava Olsen, the 20-year-old Isla Vista resident charged in the slaying of Santa Barbara City College student Bradley Jones last March, guilty on all counts after it concluded more than three hours of deliberation yesterday.
The charges facing Olsen included felony counts of involuntary manslaughter and assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury, all stemming from the Feb. 29 incident on Sabado Tarde Road in which he punched Jones in the head, causing Jones to lose his balance and hit his head on the pavement. Jones was taken to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, where he died Mar. 2 from the head injury.
Rory Moore, Olsen’s public defender, said the main point of contention during the trial was not whether Olson was ultimately responsible for Jones’s death, but whether the force Olsen used was likely to produce great bodily injury.
While Moore said he conceded that Olsen was guilty of involuntary manslaughter, he said he believes that the single punch thrown by Olsen did not merit the assault and battery charges.
“We believe it was not foreseeable that great bodily harm would result from my client’s actions,” Moore said. “My client set in motion a chain of events that he could not have anticipated.”
Moore said Joshua Lynn, the district attorney prosecuting the case, argued that Olsen sucker-punched Jones, intentionally catching him off-guard and causing more harm than would have been inflicted in a fair fight.
Moore said Olsen, who has been held on $250,000 bail since his arrest, did not show any visible emotion upon receiving the verdict. Olsen will be sentenced at a hearing Nov. 16, Moore said, and may receive several years in prison.
“At this point, my client is facing up to nine years in state prison – for one punch,” Moore said. “One punch was not likely to cause the kind of injury it did.”
Moore said he plans to appeal after Olsen receives his sentence, but he said he would have to prove that there were errors during the investigation or trial to get the verdict altered.
“A court of appeals would have to find that mistakes were made,” Moore said. “It’s very definitely uphill at this point.”