Greg Ousley was a 14-year-old boy from Pierceton, Indiana. Greg had a normal upbringing and at one point, had a close relationship with his parents, Jobie and Bonnie Ousley. Greg and Jobie would go hunting and throw a ball around the garden. “They were good with their kids,” recollected one neighbour.
However, over the years, Greg began to feel an uncontrollable rage building up inside of him. It was something that he had spoken to his parents about in the past but they shrugged it off as Greg “watching too many movies.” This nonchalant attitude to their son’s cry for help would soon prove to be deadly.
In mid-February of 1993, Greg and his parents had gotten into an altercation which resulted in Greg locking himself in his bedroom for the remainder of the day. At one point, Bonnie came into his bedroom and asked what was bothering him. Greg tried to say that he had thoughts of suicide and homicide but Bonnie didn’t want to hear it. She told Greg he had been watching too many movies.
He later said: “I remember lying there thinking: Man, this is just never going to change. Mom and dad, they are never, ever gonna listen to me. I’ve got no choice. I’ve got to go through with it…”1
At around 11:30PM on the 23rd of February, Greg slowly crept into his parents’ bedroom armed with a 12-gauge shotgun. He shot his father once in the face and arm before turning the gun to his mother. The shot had awoken Bonnie and before Greg had the chance to shoot, she had run into the dining room in a bid to call for help. Tragically, however, Greg followed Bonnie and fired two shots at her, killing her in the dining room.
Greg then took the family pickup truck and drove to a friend’s house, where he confessed to what he had just done. He told his friend to keep it quiet and drove back home to plan his next move. At approximately 4:00AM the following morning, Greg ran to a neighbour’s house, and exclaimed that his parents had committed suicide. However, when police arrived at the scene, Greg had already changed his version of events.
He told police that he had been driving around aimlessly that morning and when he returned home, he found his parents dead. He said that somebody must have broken into the home and killed his parents in a botched robbery. It wasn’t long before his story began to crumble, even more so when his trusted friend confessed what Greg has told him. By the next afternoon, Greg broke down and confessed. The prosecution stated: “The friend corroborates the confession. Even if we don’t use his statement, we have a very strong case.”2
According to Greg, he and his parents argued quite frequently. He said that they argued about chores, about the length of his hair and whether he could go to his friend’s house. In fact, Greg had often spoke to his friends about wanting to kill his parents but seemingly, nobody ever thought that he was being serious. “I had been thinking about killing them every time I get mad. They don’t seem to understand me,” he said to a police officer. The prosecution had argued that Greg should be tried as an adult because the crime was premeditated. “There is no evidence of provocation of self-defence or anything,” said Kosciusko County Prosecutor, Randy Girod.
Greg pleaded not-guilty to the murders while his defence attorney, Duane Huffer, filed a motion to have two court-appointed psychiatrists review his mental state. They were to determine whether Greg was competent to stand trial and whether he could assist in his own defence.3
In November of 1993, Greg changed his plea and instead, pleaded guilty but mentally ill. He was sentenced to thirty years now prison for each murder and was ordered to serve one term after the other. The Kosciusko County Prosecutor’s Office had agreed to the plea. They said that Greg had used marijuana and inhalants extensively and that the inhalants had warped his mind. Three separate psychologists had believed that the inhalants created a “dysfunctional mind.”4
Following the sentencing phase, Greg wrote a letter which read (spelling errors are preserved):
“My name is Greg Ousley. I’m 15 years old and sitting in the Kosciusko County Jail. Ten months ago on Feb. 27, 1993 I committed a terrible crime, I murdered my parents. I’m definitely not proud of, in fact I can’t stand that fact that it’s my fault they are gone. Reasons for it are hard to find. The biggest reason is I had a lot of problems and I didn’t get the help I needed for them. A week before it happened, I told my Mom I was suicidal and had a lot of bad thoughts. She told me I was watching too many movies. So I gave up and figured I was messed up and I always will be. Now look where I’m at – In here I’ve been getting the help I need from God. A lot of people from the outside probably don’t believe me because they can’t see it for their selves, but it’s true. The best help you can get is from God. God will be your best friend and will never leave you. Because of God I’ve made it this far and I plan to live a good long live. So if you think you have a problem don’t overlook it. Tell someone about. Tell your parents or counsellors or Teachers. Please tell someone that will listen to you. If the first person doesn’t listen to you don’t give up, try another person. It’s your life and its very very important.”
Greg Ousley was one of the youngest adult inmates in the state’s history. Over the years, he expressed deep remorse for his actions and in 2019, he was released.
- The New York Times, 19 July, 2012 – “Greg Ousley is Sorry for Killing his Parents. Is That Enough?”
- The Journal Gazette, 3 March, 1993 – “A Section”
- The Journal Gazette, 19 October, 1993 – “The Pierceton Middle-School Student”
- The News-Sentinel, 7 January, 1994 – “Inhalants Cited in Ousley Case”