Orville Lee Wollard III - Florida
Sentence: 20 years
assault with a weapon without intent to kill; shooting into a dwelling; child
abuse without great harm
Priors: DUI (1980)
Year sentenced: 2009
has worked his entire life to better himself. After earning an Associate’s
degree, he got a Bachelor’s degree in Business. He attended night school while maintaining
a full-time job to earn his Master’s degree in Business Management and
Organizational Behavior. He has been employed as everything from being a computer
technician with the Home Shopping Network to managing a photo processing lab.
In all of his positions, Orville was quickly promoted because of his strong
2008, 53-year-old Orville was living happily with his wife, Sandy, and their
two daughters in Florida. He held a steady job as a human resources specialist at
Sea World. Unfortunately, Sandy became very ill with serious heart problems. Their
youngest daughter began acting out, using drugs and running away with her older
boyfriend for days at a time. The boy, a local drug dealer, was known for his
lengthy criminal record and violent outbursts. It wasn’t long before he began
to abuse Orville’s daughter, punching and yelling at her, and stealing
prescription pills, jewelry and money from the family’s home. Orville did his
best to try to help his daughter while caring for his wife and maintaining his
job. He called the police repeatedly and issued Amber Alerts when his daughter
would disappear. Unfortunately, the authorities told him they could not do
anything to stop the boyfriend, as he was a minor.
May 14, Orville received a panicked call at work from his wife, who reported
that the boy was at their home causing trouble. He hurriedly returned to the
house, where he found the boy on the porch and his daughter with a black eye.
When Orville told him to leave, the boyfriend attacked him, ripping out stitches
from Orville’s recent surgery, and ran off with his daughter. The two returned several
hours later and the boy began shoving Orville’s daughter around the Wollards’
home. She cried as Sandy and the eldest daughter screamed for Orville to help.
and scared for his family’s safety, Orville felt helpless. The boy had already
outmatched him in a physical fight and the police had said multiple times they
could do nothing about the situation. Orville took his legally registered
pistol and confronted the boy in the living room, again asking him to leave.
The boyfriend stopped assaulting Orville’s daughter and came into the living
room. He punched a hole in the wall, smiled at Orville, and began moving
towards him. Orville, who had firearms training as a former member of the
auxiliary police force, shot a bullet into the wall next to the boyfriend to
scare him. No one was hurt and the boy finally left. Orville’s daughter was later admitted to a
hospital after attempting suicide. Several days later, Orville was arrested - the
boyfriend had called the police to report him for aggravated assault.
spent a year in county jail on a $285,000 bond. Believing he was within his
rights to defend his family with a legally registered firearm, Orville rejected
a plea deal for five years of probation and pled not guilty. At trial, Orville was
not allowed bring up the many problems the Wollard family had experienced with
the boyfriend; he was only permitted to say the boy was “no longer welcome” at
his home. The jury rejected Orville’s self-defense claim and found him guilty
of possessing and discharging a firearm, triggering Florida’s 20-year mandatory
minimum for aggravated assault with a weapon.
officer who prepared Orville’s sentencing score sheet begged the government to recognize
the extenuating circumstances of the case.
Additionally, the investigating officer stated that he believed
Orville’s daughter and the boyfriend had used this incident solely to get back
at Orville for trying to keep them apart. Unfortunately, Judge Donald Jacobsen had
no choice but to sentence Orville to two decades behind bars. Judge Jacobsen
This [sentence] is obviously excessive…if
it weren’t for the mandatory minimum…I would use my discretion and impose some separate
sentence, having taken into consideration the circumstances of the event, but I
think I am duty-bound to apply the law as it has been enacted by the
sentenced Orville to 33 months for the charge of shooting into a dwelling
(Orville’s own home) and 33 months for child abuse (because the boyfriend was a
minor) to run concurrently.
Orville’s incarceration, the Wollard family split up. Sandy and Orville’s younger
daughter were forced to move in with relatives in Wisconsin after their home
went into foreclosure. He has not seen them once since his imprisonment. In an
interview with a local paper, Sandy said, “I am just crushed. I depended on him
for a lot of things. He is my best friend.” Both of Orville’s daughters, now 18
and 20, and the boyfriend wrote letters to Governor Rick Scott begging him to
overturn Orville’s 20-year mandatory sentence.
the day of his sentencing, Orville spoke before the Court:
I’m amazed. I’m stunned. I have spent my
life pursuing education [and] helped the community. [T]hen one day this person
breaks into my house…he continues to do this, he assaults my daughter, he
threatens me, I protect myself. [N]o one is injured in this whole thing and I’m
going to prison and the drug dealer’s on the street. And again, with all
respect to [the Court], I would expect this from the former Soviet Union…not
the United States.