The Tulane Hullabaloo

Former Tulane Student Oliver Jerde sent to mental health facility, no prison time

Jordan Figueredo, Senior Staff Reporter

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After pleading guilty to several burglary charges in January, former Tulane student Oliver Jerde will not be sent to prison and will instead go to an addiction treatment center. 

Jerde was convicted of two aggravated burglaries and one residential burglary committed in September 2015. Rather than prison time, Jerde received a 10-year suspended sentence and five years of probation, which he will undergo in Minnesota. The sentencing came after Jerde accepted a deal with prosecutors.

The crimes that Jerde committed targeted women in the Uptown area near Tulane. He was taken into custody after being caught in the act of breaking into a home at 3:30 a.m. on Jan. 21 near the 800 block of Pine Street. Jerde was found inside removing items and after receiving a warrant for his home, police found items that were previously reported stolen.

The two other home invasions he was charged with occurred  Jan. 17 in the 1000 and 1200 blocks of Lowerline Street,  an hour apart, along with the Pine Street robbery on Jan. 21.

Jerde, son of famed late architect Jon Jerde, served as vice president of Tulane’s branch of the National Alliance for Mental Illness alongside president Jesse Benzell before stepping down over winter break last year.

Benzell believes Jerde’s mental state may have led to his crimes.

Jerde was diagnosed with bipolar and substance abuse disorders, leading to his probation in Minnesota, which specializes in treating individuals suffering from mental illness or addictive disorders.

Jerde was originally arrested on Jan. 21 for various counts of burglary in residences occupied by Tulane students as well as two counts of rape and one of sexual battery, although Jerde has not been charged for those assaults.  

His lack of jail time has residents upset, believing he needs to be punished for the crimes he committed.

“From what he had done from my understanding I thought he would have had at least maybe five years in jail, some jail time,” Pine Street resident Ron Krugler said in an interview with WWL. “Probation seems like nonsense compared to the crimes that he was committing.”

As for the sexual assault charges, a DNA sample was taken to determine his involvement. According to Dawne Massey, an NOPD spokeswoman for WWLTV.com, all three incidents remain under investigation.  

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Student newspaper serving Tulane University, Uptown New Orleans
Former Tulane Student Oliver Jerde sent to mental health facility, no prison time