Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Orlando man takes 25-year plea deal in robbery and shooting

BROOKSVILLE — In a surprise move, one of the three men accused of robbing the Boyett's Grove and Citrus Attraction in 2007 pleaded guilty in a Hernando County court Wednesday morning.

Damion Childs, 25, of Orlando, signed off on a plea agreement that will send him to state prison for 25 years. Childs declined representation and insisted this morning to Circuit Judge Jack Springstead that he wanted to resolve his case.

"I want to settle this today," Childs told Springstead. "I'm here to settle these charges."

Already serving a life sentence on kidnapping charges from Orange County, Childs pleaded guilty to charges of attempted murder and robbery with a firearm. Each charge carried a sentence of 25 years, which Childs will serve concurrently.

"I've never seen anyone plead to 25 years with no lawyer," said Assistant State Attorney Don Barbee. "But, really, there wasn't much to defend. And he's already doing life."

Childs never explained his reason for so quickly seeking a plea. But Barbee eagerly accepted and quickly drew up the deal during a particularly busy day in Springstead's court — the last before the Christmas holiday.

Arrest affidavits say that on April 25, 2007, Childs entered the old-Florida roadside attraction at 4355 Spring Lake Highway in rural Hernando County with Willie Cliatt and Adrian House, who subdued a customer.

Childs disabled the phones, and, armed with a .45-caliber handgun, took co-owner Kathy Oleson to a back room demanding money. When he encountered Oleson's husband, Jim Oleson, he fired two shots into his chest. The three fled with a wallet and some cash and managed to elude a massive police search.

Oleson spent several weeks in intensive care at St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa.

Kathy Oleson said she was relieved to know the cases have almost been completely resolved. The family is eager to put that grisly incident behind them.

"We live it every day," Oleson said. "But the main part of it is over. That kind of gives you a little closure."

Another Orlando man, Elijah Montgomery, was arrested in the case. But once cell-phone records and other evidence showed he was not involved, authorities said, Montgomery started talking.

Charges were dropped against him and his information led to the arrests of Childs and House, 26. The two were arrested on charges of attempted murder, aggravated battery with a firearm, aggravated assault with a firearm and two counts of robbery with a firearm.

House was also in court Wednesday for a pretrial hearing. He is due back in court next month for another hearing.

The third suspect, Cliatt, was one of Montgomery's cousins. He was killed in an unrelated incident.

Joel Anderson can be reached at or (352) 754-6120.

Orlando man takes 25-year plea deal in robbery and shooting 12/23/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 23, 2009 6:56pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays beat Orioles, but tough stretch looms that could change their plans (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Even with their losing streak extending to five the night before, Rays officials were continuing Tuesday on their same track in trade talks leading up to Monday's deadline seeking a proven reliever and a right-handed bat.

    Looking to buy.

    The Rays’ Tim Beckham celebrates with Mallex Smith after hitting a three-run homer in the second inning for a 5-0 lead.
  2. Diaz, Taddeo win easily in special Miami Senate primaries


    Two Miami state Senate candidates who raised and spent the most in their respective primaries — Republican Rep. Jose Felix Diaz and Democratic businesswoman Annette Taddeo — notched easy victories in a special election Tuesday night.

    Republican candidate Jose Felix Diaz is surrounded by supporters after he won the primary for Florida’s Senate District 40 race. Democrat Annette Taddeo, right, celebrates her victory with supporter Venus Lovely at BJ’s Restaurant in The Falls.
  3. In live debate, Kriseman and Baker ask St. Pete: Is the city better off?



    Mayoral candidates Rick Kriseman and Rick Baker made their best pitch to voters in front of a live television audience on Tuesday night. The candidates essentially asked this: Is the city better off now than it was four years ago?

    Incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman, left, and former Mayor Rick Baker debate in front of a live television audience Tuesday at the Palladium Theater in St. Petersburg. The event was sponsored by the Tampa Bay Times and Bay News 9.
  4. Romano: It all comes down to sewage in this mayoral race

    Local Government

    Well, poop.

    Nothing else really matters, does it?

    Schools, economic development, public safety? Pfft. The Rays stadium, affordable housing, the pier? Ack. When it comes to the St. Petersburg mayoral election, sewage is the yin, the yang and the yuck.

    At Tuesday’s debate, incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman said responsibility lies on him regarding the sewage crisis.
  5. Shooting sends man to hospital in St. Pete


    ST. PETERSBURG — Police were investigating a shooting that occurred around 4:40 p.m. on Tuesday and sent a man to the hospital.