Local News

Trial Begins For Angier Woman Accused In Drowning Death Of Stepson

Posted January 23, 2002

— Opening arguments and testimony began Wednesday in the trial of a woman charged with involuntary manslaughter in the drowning death of her stepson.

Jarrett Odom died and his twin brother, Garrett, was hospitalized after swimming in the pool at their house. Police say Sandra Odom was watching her twin stepsons and her five other children at the time of the drowning.

However, they say her account of what happened seems to conflict with the 911 call she made.

The prosecution claimed in their opening statements that Odom left the boys unattended for about four minutes. The defense claimed Odom never left the boys unattended.

"Involuntary manslaughter can be defined by 4-year-old Jarrett Odom as his stepmom going into the house, leaving him in a 4-foot-deep swimming pool for 10 minutes," prosecutor Margaret Cloutier told the jury.

"Nobody is accepting what she says, even though her children have been interviewed and have said the same thing, None of the children have said that the twins were left alone in the pool," defense attorney Tom Maher said to the jury. "Nobody will listen to her and no one will listen to her children."

Jurors listened to the 911 tape in which Odom called for help and testimony from emergency rescue people who were at the scene of the drowning. Ken Snell, the medical examiner, testified that Odom's death appears to have come from drowning.

The defense said they plan to state that Odom took the kids out of the pool when they became ill. She put the twins to bed for a nap.

"She walked into the kitchen area, where she could see into the bedroom where Jarrett was and she noticed that he had bubbles by his mouth and didn't look right," Maher said. "She got closer and he was turning blue. She said, 'Jarrett, what happened, what are you doing?' and realized that there was a real problem here."

The prosecution said they plan to play a tape where Odom allegedly changes her story.

Two of Odom's older children as well as Odom herself are expected to testify.

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