Local News

Harnett Woman Charged In Stepson's Death Speaks Out

Posted April 12, 2002 9:37 a.m. EDT

— A young mother is breaking her silence about the death of her stepson.

Sandra Odom is charged with the death of her 4-year-old stepson, Jarrett. For the first time, she talks about his death, the mistrial and the charges against her.

In January, jurors in Harnett County deadlocked on whether Odom was guilty of letting her stepson drown. She now says she is innocent and she is looking forward to the opportunity to tell a jury.

"I have never left any child alone, let alone Garrett or Jarrett, whether they are my children, whether they are my stepchildren. It doesn't matter. I wouldn't leave a neighbor's child alone in a pool by themselves. That's ridiculous," Odom said.

Odom said investigators interrogated her, pushed her to her emotional brink, until she finally told them what she thought they wanted to hear: That she left the kids alone.

She now said that was not true.

"After a week of badgering, I think any normal, caring, loving mother would have done the same thing that I did, and tried to make it better and get their family back together the best that she could," she said.

Odom has five children and one on the way.

Her husband, Claude, the father of Jarrett and his twin Garrett, has been by her side since the beginning.

"It happened, it was a terrible tragedy. That's something no one should have to deal with, losing a son. There's no reason someone innocent should pay," he said.

Since Jarrett's death, Claude Odom has only had limited contact with Garrett. He said he desperately wants his family reunited.

"Our whole lives have been torn apart. Our family is not together," he said.

"We're in the punishment phase now, so there's not more they can do to us at this point. They're doing it," Sandra Odom said.

A new trial is scheduled for Sept. 23. At that time, Sandra Odom expects an expert will testify that Jarrett did not drown, but died of water intoxication after getting out of the pool.