Harnett Judge Declares Mistrial In Odom Case
Posted January 29, 2002
LILLINGTON, N.C. — A Harnett County judge has declared a mistrial after a jury was unable to reach a unanimous decision in the trial of Sandra Odom Tuesday morning.
After deliberating for more than eight hours over two days, the jurors remained deadlocked 7-5 in the trial of a woman accused in the drowning death of her stepson.
Monday, the defense attorney representing Odom asked the judge to declare a mistrial after hearing about the jury's split votes. The judge said he would take it under advisement, but asked the jury to continue their deliberations on Tuesday.
Sandra Odom was on trial for the drowning death of her four-year-old stepson, Jarrett. She faced involuntary manslaughter charges and child neglect charges.
Emergency crews were called to Odom's home on July 5, 2001 when both Jarrett and his twin brother, Garrett, showed few signs of life after playing in the backyard swimming pool.
The prosecution argued that Odom, who was watching seven children at the time of the incident including the twins, left Jarrett and Garrett alone in the family pool. The defense said that Odom never left the children alone.
Garrett Odom survived the incident and is living with his biological mother, Janet Odom.
Jurors had been deliberating since 10 a.m. Monday. They also spent a few hours reviewing the case Friday before adjourning for the weekend.
"I think the toughest part is having to try to figure out what the jury is thinking. Just sitting there, waiting, not knowing anything," said Jean Beasley, a friend of Janet Odom, the biological mother of Jarrett and Garrett Odom.
If convicted, Sandra Odom faced two years in prison.
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