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'I Am Going To Murder My Parents': Greg Ousley's Killer Crimes

Teenage angst is a condition common to most adolescents. For 14-year-old Greg Ousley, however, it was so much more. 

Ousley, one of the youngest convicted felons in the state of Indiana, felt he had no outlet for the anxiety and suffocation he suffered at the hands of his parents. So, in the late-night hours of February 27, 1993, he made a terrifying decision. It was one he would regret for the rest of his life. 

Tension In The Family

As children, Greg and two older sisters lived happily enough with their parents, Jobie and Bonnie Ousley. Though there was frequent strife and family arguments in the Ousley household, it was a normal enough situation until the girls grew old enough to move out. 

According to Greg, this was when his mother first began focusing the bulk of her attention on him. She made Greg feel smothered and hopeless, as though he couldn’t live his own life. Greg wanted to be a guitar player. But in his mother’s eyes, this would never happen. 

Bonnie Ousley wanted her children with her, always. When her daughters moved out, she viewed it as abandonment. She turned her grief and her loneliness on her son, Greg, making him the victim of explosive rages and often accusing him of things he had yet to do, such as leaving her the way his sisters had done. 

Greg felt his father was little help. A quiet press operator who had trouble showing his feelings, Jobie Ousley appeared cold and reserved to most who knew him. Between the stress of being constantly harrassed by his mother and ignored by his father, Greg began to entertain thoughts that were both suicidal and homicidal. 

According to friends close to Greg, he first began using inhalants when he was 12. This was about the time his second sister, Tammy, left home, and he became the sole focus of his mother’s anger. Friends said he took to the habit in a hard-core way, inhaling everything he could get access to, including WD-40, paint thinner, gasoline, and the glue used to make model cars and airplanes. Adding fuel to an already glowing fire, it was only a year later that Greg discovered his mother in a furtive embrace with a family friend — information he would later try and fail to use as blackmail to escape her constant attention.

According to Greg, he tried multiple times to tell his parents how he felt. He expressed fear that all he ever thought about was killing either himself or others. But each time, unable to handle the revelation, his parents would downplay his outcry, dismissing it as the result of watching too many movies. 

At school, Greg’s behavior never raised red flags. Once an avid wrestler, he began ducking out of practice and wearing clothes depicting his favorite metal bands. Periodically, he would lie to his coach about why he couldn’t make practice. His behavior was just odd enough for teachers to consider it normal teenage angst. Consequently, no one close to him suspected how dark his thoughts had become. 

They didn't know Greg had already crossed two important lines. He had once sighted his mother in using the scope on his rifle as she unwittingly hung clothes on the line. He had also tried to shoot himself in the foot to end the wrestling dilemma once and for all. He missed his foot but damaged his hearing. It’s unclear whether those around knew his actual intentions that day.

But there was a third warning sign, too. At just 13, Greg was telling classmates he planned to kill his parents. 

Deadly Intentions

One year later, Greg Ousley had graduated to writing his troubling thoughts down in school notebooks. “This weekend, I am going to kill my parents,” he scribbled. It was evidence that would later contribute to his conviction. Greg meticulously planned the murder of Jobie and Bonnie Ousley, wrote his intentions down, and told friends what he was planning and when. Still, no one intervened until after the horrific act was complete. 

So, on the evening of February 27th, after spending a few uncharacteristically peaceful hours singing and playing guitar with both parents, Greg loaded his father’s 12-gauge shotgun, moved into his parents’ bedroom and shot his father as the man slept. He then followed his mother into the dining room where she was trying to flee and shot her twice — once in the head and once in the right side. Afterward, he drove his father’s truck three miles to his best friend’s house and confessed to what he’d done, swearing the boy to secrecy. 

By 4 AM that same morning, Greg had decided on a story. He ran to a neighbor’s house and hysterically claimed he’d just returned home from a joyride to find both his parents dead. Immediately, police found holes in his story. These discrepancies, compounded by the statement of the friend Greg had sworn to secrecy, were enough to make him the prime suspect in the case. By noon the next day, Greg had confessed to murdering Jobie and Bonnie Ousley, stating it was because they didn’t seem to understand him.

The Sentencing

The rush to convict and sentence Greg Ousley is still controversial today. Because of the heinous nature of his crimes, the court tried him as an adult. Under the advice of his attorney, Greg pleaded Guilty but Mentally Ill (GBMI). In return, he received two consecutive sentences of 30 years for each murder, with no possibility of parole until 2019. He was 15 years old in 1994 when he began serving time in the Indiana Prison System, one of the youngest convicted felons in the state’s history. 

Throughout his incarceration, Greg expressed regret for what he had done. He became what many would call a model citizen, earning a liberal arts degree and reflecting upon his crime. Still, the courts denied his sentence modification on multiple occasions. Finally, in 2020, they released him on parole.

During his time in prison, Greg wrote and received letters from his sisters and their children. He also kept in touch with an aunt and uncle willing to forgive what he had done. His case is a source of controversy among youth advocates even today. Many in the judicial system felt that, had Greg been tried and sentenced as a minor, he would have received the necessary mental and emotional help he so obviously needed.  To this day, the quality of his defense still comes into question by those opposed to life sentences for underaged offenders.

Regardless, Greg Ousley served 24 years of his original sixty-year sentence, entering prison as a 15-year-old adolescent and leaving as a 39-year-old man. Today, he lives as a free man in Indiana. His goal as he awaited release was to work with troubled youth. Whether he’ll achieve it remains in question.

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