BROOKSVILLE — One way or another, Elijah Montgomery will spend some time in prison. His criminal charges in Hernando could mean the difference between 10 years behind bars and a lifetime.
Montgomery, who is accused of shooting the owner of Boyett's Grove and Citrus Attraction during a robbery two years ago, is expected to be arraigned in Hernando County today on charges of attempted murder, aggravated assault, aggravated battery and armed robbery.
Elijah Montgomery, a 23-year-old Orlando man with an extensive criminal history, was one of three robbers who hit the roadside attraction in April 2007, investigators say. Montgomery shot owner Jim Oleson twice in the chest with a large-caliber handgun, they say.
But before prosecutors could bring him to court in Hernando County, Montgomery first had an appointment with authorities in Orlando.
A month ago, Montgomery was sentenced to 10 years in state prison stemming from an arrest in Orange County for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and carrying a concealed firearm.
Assistant State Attorney Don Barbee said Montgomery faces up to life in prison on the charges in Hernando.
"He's already taken a decent hit" in the other prison sentence, Barbee said. "But we've been patient for him. We've been waiting."
On a quiet afternoon in April 2007, the three robbers burst into the attraction at 4355 Spring Lake Highway. While two masked men held a customer down and searched the store, the third robber — later identified as Montgomery — destroyed the phones and then grabbed co-owner Kathy Oleson by the hair, deputies said.
Montgomery dragged Oleson around the store demanding money and threatening to kill her, deputies said.
When Montgomery stepped into a back room, he came upon Jim Oleson working on a computer. He stood up, and the gunman fired two shots into his chest, according to reports.
The robbers then fled the store.
Jim Oleson, 60, was critically wounded and spent several weeks in intensive care in a Tampa hospital fighting for his life.
On July 1, 2007, the attraction reopened. Only 10 days earlier, on June 21, police booked Montgomery into an Orlando jail after he allegedly pointed a gun at a woman.
Forensic tests by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement matched the pistol to a shell casing recovered by Hernando sheriff's technicians at Boyett's Grove.
In December 2007, the Olesons picked Montgomery out of a lineup at the Orange County jail. The other two robbers remain on the loose.
Montgomery, who goes by the street name of "Money,'' has had previous arrests for possession of methamphetamine with intent to sell, selling cocaine, sexual assault and multiple sex offenses against children.
Sgt. Donna Black, a spokeswoman for the Hernando County Sheriff's Office, said, "Now our charges kick in and finally we can bring him before our judges and jury of his peers. Hopefully, the (Olesons) can get some resolution."
Joel Anderson can be reached at email@example.com or (352) 754-6120.