Otis Daniels was a fifteen year old from Georgia when he murdered a woman during a robbery. According to court documents Otis Daniels broke into the home of Valene McGourk and demanded money. When Valene McGourk hesitated Otis Daniels would shoot her and her daughter who was sixteen years old at the time of the shooting. Valene McGourk would die in hospital a few weeks later her daughter would survive. This teen killer would be sentenced to life in prison.
Otis Daniels 2021 Information
MAJOR OFFENSE: MURDER
MOST RECENT INSTITUTION: WARE STATE PRISON
MAX POSSIBLE RELEASE DATE: LIFE
Otis Daniels More News
A second chance at freedom could come to an Albany man after spending more than 20 years in jail after his murder conviction in 1998.
Otis Daniels was 16 at the time and sentenced to life without parole.
A supreme court ruling finds sentencing a minor to life without the chance of parole is unconstitutional. They said that is what happened in Daniel’s case.
The A&E Network did a documentary on the story as part of its “Kids Behind Bars” series.
Now his re-sentencing could change his fate, but there are still other factors to be considered.
While in chains, words like possible or hope can mean the world for inmates. But at what cost?
“Every human being deserves to be forgiven and deserves a second chance,” said Phil Cannon, who was the defense attorney for the then 16-year-old Daniels.
Daniels was sentenced to life without parole on multiple charges.
“The first time I laid eyes on Otis, he was just a boy, he was a child. I have to accept that Otis killed a lady and I have to accept that he left a lady disfigured permanently,” Cannon explained.
Cannon said this was a death penalty case, that the state was pushing for.
“That was not about getting Otis out of it, that was about saving Otis’ life,” Cannon said.
When the US Supreme Court in 2012 ruled it unconstitutional to sentence minors to life without parole, Daniels’ chances at freedom grew.
District Attorney Greg Edwards said the state was required to review his case
Edwards said Daniels will get credit for the time he’s served.
“Forty-five years is what we are looking at in terms of his eligibility for three consecutive life sentences,” said Edwards.
The parole board will consider many factors in their evaluation.
“I was glad that people like Otis, in general, would at least have the opportunity to come back and ask,” said Cannon.
Cannon also said Daniels and others at least deserve that chance.
Edwards said just because there is a possibility of parole doesn’t mean he will be paroled.
The parole board will consider factors like an inmates behavior behind bars as well.
Otis Daniels Appeal
Pursuant to his guilty plea, Daniels admitted that he broke into the home where Valene McGourk lived with her daughter, Valerie. Both women were home at the time, and Daniels demanded money from them, assaulted them, and when they did not comply with his demands, shot them both. Valene McGourk died several weeks later as a result of Daniels’s attack. Valerie McGourk suffered gunshot injuries to her face and neck, but survived.1 Otis Daniels was indicted on 22 criminal charges stemming from the attack, and he subsequently pled guilty to malice murder, kidnaping, armed robbery, aggravated battery, theft, and illegal firearm possession. The trial court, noting that Otis Daniels had previously been adjudicated a felon on charges of armed robbery, sentenced him as a repeat offender to consecutive life sentences under the mandatory provisions of OCGA § 17-10-7(b)(2).
Otis Daniels claims that the trial court erred in sentencing him as a repeat offender, because his only prior felony conviction was entered on a guilty plea as a first offender, and had resulted in a probated sentence pursuant to OCGA § 42-8-60. Because a first offender’s guilty plea does not constitute a “conviction” under the Criminal Code of Georgia,2 Daniels argues that at the time he pled guilty in this matter, he had no prior convictions, and should not have been sentenced as a repeat offender.
Otis Daniels’s appeal from his guilty pleas in this case is cognizable only to the extent that the issues raised can be resolved by facts appearing in the record.3 The record in this case plainly shows that Daniels’s argument is meritless. It is true that in November 1995, Otis Daniels pled guilty to charges of armed robbery, was granted first offender treatment, and was given a probated sentence of 20 years. However, roughly two months later, Otis Daniels violated the terms of his first offender probation by receiving a stolen automobile, attempting to elude police officers, and obstructing police officers in the performance of their duty. Thereafter, in April 1996, Daniels’s first offender probationary status was revoked, he was adjudicated guilty on the armed robbery charge,4 and ordered to serve two of his twenty-year sentence for armed robbery, with the remainder of the sentence to be probated.
Thus, due to his earlier violation of the terms of his first offender probation, Otis Daniels was a convicted felon at the time he was sentenced by the trial court for his deadly attack on the McGourks, and the trial court did not err by treating him as a repeat offender and entering the maximum sentences available for the crimes to which he pled guilty.5