Local News

Harnett County Jury Deadlocks 8-4 In Odom Retrial; Judge Declares Mistrial

Posted October 1, 2002

— A judge in the case of a Harnett County woman charged with her stepson's death declared a mistrial Monday after jurors told him that they would be unable to come up with a verdict.

Jurors were deadlocked 8-4 in favor of acquittal in the case against Sandra Odom, who was charged with involuntary manslaughter in 4-year-old Jarrett Odom's death and misdemeanor child abuse in the injury of his twin brother, Garrett Odom.

"We just couldn't get together. Some were set in their ways and you couldn't sway them one way or another," juror Jeffrey Scott said.

"It was very, very difficult. It was very unfortunate," juror Lynn Messer said.

Sandra Odom left the courthouse in tears, accompanied by her mother and her husband.

"It has been an emotionally draining case. We believe the truth was presented by Sandra throughout this case. We are just sorry that 12 people were not able to get together on that," defense attorney Tom Maher said.

Prosecutors said Janet Odom, Jarrett and Garrett's biological mother, was disappointed by the outcome.

"She wanted this to be done and over and not to continue to hang over her head, and of course, she was hoping this would resolve it, so she is disappointed," prosecutor Margaret Cloutier said.

"We have one dead child and another one who just about drowned, so there needs to be justice for those boys," said Frieda Egerton, Janet Odom's aunt.

On Monday, jurors looked at more evidence in the trial. They looked at the transcripts of her 911 call, transcripts of her conflicting statements to police and phone records on July 5, 2001, the day her stepson, Jarrett Odom, died.

Odom is accused of leaving Jarrett and Garrett alone in the family's pool.

Jurors spent a total of more than four hours over two days in their deliberations.

Odom's first trial in January ended in a mistrial. Jurors in that trial deliberated for more than 9 1/2 hours and were deadlocked 7-5 in favor of acquittal.

The state has not decided as to whether they plan to retry the case for a third time.

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