Local News

Harnett County Stepmother Will Not Face Third Trial

Posted October 4, 2002

— Prosecutors do not plan to go ahead with a third trial in the case of an Angier woman accused in the drowning of her stepson.

Monday, a jury deadlocked on whether Sandra Odom was criminally responsible for Jarrett Odom's death and his 4-year-old twin brother Garrett Odom's injuries. It is the second time this year a judge has declared a mistrial in this case because a jury could not reach a verdict.

Prosecutors said they saw no hope for a conviction on a third try.

"At this point, I decided it's simply not in the interest of justice or in the interest of judicial economy to try the defendant the third time," Harnett County District Attorney Tom Locke said.

Authorities claim Odom confessed to leaving Jarrett and Garrett alone in the family's backyard pool last year in Angier. Jarrett died in the incident while Garrett survived. Later, Odom said investigators coerced that confession.

Odom claimed when the boys got out of the pool, she noticed something was wrong. An expert for the defense said Jarrett may have died later from water intoxication -- evidence that hinged on science and opinion.

"I think the jurors simply could not believe that a mother would be so negligent," Locke said.

Sandra Odom and her husband said they are relieved and anxious to put the tragedy behind them.

Janet Odom, Jarrett's biological mother, told WRAL that she was disappointed when she heard the district attorney would not pursue the case further. Garrett is now living with Janet Odom in Vance County.


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