Local News

Sandra Odom Testifies In Her Own Defense During Retrial

Posted September 25, 2002

— The Angier woman on trial for the drowning death of her stepson took the stand in her own defense Wednesday afternoon.

Sandra Odom is accused of leaving her twin 4-year-old stepsons, Jarrett and Garrett Odom, alone in the family's pool on July 5, 2001. Jarrett died; Garrett was injured, but survived.

"There is nothing to feel except just pain," she said.

Odom said she did not find the 4-year-old twin boys in the pool. She said their symptoms started after they got out of the water.

"I saw he was turning colors and there was foam coming out and I was scared to death. I didn't know what was wrong," she testified.

Odom said she called 911. After that, she said a flurry of activity took place in her Angier home as emergency workers and police arrived.

Jarrett was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Odom said she accompanied her husband, Claude, the boys father, to see Jarrett.

"Claude went out to go see Jarrett and I wanted to go see him, but I didn't" she said.

Odom testified that in the days following the incident, investigators seemed increasingly suspicious of her story, which made her defensive.

"I don't do anything to these boys. I wouldn't hurt them," she said. "I'm keeping up with this, I don't want them to be hurt."

Odom confessed to police on tape July 12, 2001, that she left the boys alone in the pool for about 10 minutes, but Odom and her attorneys claim that confession was forced.

"It started when I blurted out that I left them alone for a few minutes, and that's what began what you all heard on the tape. I can't argue with that. I said it," she said.

Odom said she does not believe she should be charged with a crime, but said she feels responsible for what happened.

"I was the only adult in the house. As far as feeling guilt for being the only adult in the house when this happened, I'll never get rid of that," she said.

The state rested its case against Odom Wednesday morning. Attorneys claim Odom left the twins alone in a backyard pool for about 10 minutes and later lied to authorities about the incident.

A doctor with the state Medical Examiner's Office testified on behalf of the state Wednesday that the injuries suffered by Jarrett were consistent with drowning.

Defense attorneys claim Odom was trying to teach her stepsons to swim when they came down with a rare condition called water intoxication, which comes from drinking too much water. An expert for the defense is expected to testify regarding that condition on Thursday.

Odom's children are also expected to take the stand to testify about what happened the day of Jarrett's death.

Odom's first trial in January ended in a mistrial.


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