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Harnett County Woman Discusses Trials, Stepson's Death

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ANGIER, N.C. — A Harnett County woman charged in the drowning death of her stepson will not face a third trial. Two juries in two separate trials deadlocked in Sandra Odom's case. Now, Odom and her husband are trying to put their lives back in order.

It has been more than a year since Jarrett Odom died and Garrett Odom suffered injuries while swimming in the family's backyard pool. The boys' stepmother, Sandra Odom, faced two trials where she was charged with child abuse and involuntary manslaughter. Both trials ended in mistrials.

Johnston County District Attorney Tom Locke decided not to try the case for a third time, saying he believed there was not enough evidence for a jury to decide beyond a reasonable doubt.

Claude Odom, Sandra's husband, said he are glad that the ordeal is finally over.

"I'm glad [a decision] it has finally been made. I don't completely understand why [prosecutors] took it a second time," he said.

Odom said her husband was there for her throughout both trials and said their relationship has been strengthened as a result.

"It has actually shown that through everything, it is the glue. That is all you have. You have your relationship and everything falls into place afterwards," she said.

The Odoms have six other children, plus Garrett to provide for. Sandra said she continues to feel self-guilt over Jarrett's death.

"It is not something that I necessarily want to get rid of. It's something that helps me remember," Sandra said. "I think I have actually said this too many times today, but hugging Garrett and putting flowers for Jarrett. That will be the best."

Garrett is living with his biological mother, Janet Odom, in Vance County.


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