The Sandra Odom Case

A StepMom's Mistake or Manslaughter?


Sandra Odom is accused of leaving
her twin, 4-year-old stepsons,

Jarrett and Garrett Odom
Jarrett and Garrett Odom
alone in a pool on July 5, 2001.

Jarrett died. Garrett was injured, but survived.

At the time of the drowning, Sandra Odom was the sole adult in charge of seven children.

The boys had been living with Claude and Sandra Odom at the time of the drowning, along with a half-brother and Sandra Odom's four children from another marriage. Janet Odom, birth mother of the twin boys, filed for custody just before the drowning. Janet and Claude shared joint custody of the two after their divorce.

Sandra Odom was charged with involuntary manslaughter and misdemeanor child abuse.

We are Dead-locked.

No verdict was ever reached.

"We had floatation devices, if that's what they're called. They called them floaties. They had a bunch of them. I went to Target when we first got it -- the pool -- and I bought a whole bunch of them. Unfortunately we had a puppy -- Fletcher -- and I don't know how old he was, but we had just got him, and he got a hold of all of them. I have a crawl space under the house and it's hard to latch. I don't have a lock on it, and so he had chewed them all up, and so within whatever time frame I had the pool -- there, on, July 5th -- we had nothing, but -- it wasn't that I didn't have them."
-- Sandra Odom

"I knew that Garrett had no problems. Had I known at any point in time that Garrett had a problem, that Jarrett had a problem, then I would have called them immediately and I would have said there's two boys with a problem. All I knew -- Garrett had a bruise, but Jarrett had foam coming out of his mouth and that's what I called for. I didn't call for a drowning. I did not call for a fall off a ladder. I did not know."
-- Odom


DISPATCHER: Harnett County 911.

ODOM: Hi, um... I have an emergency. I'm at 265 Landmark Drive.

DISPATCHER: What's wrong ma'am?

ODOM: There's a ... He's a... My -- my stepson he's not breathing. He came out of the pool and when... And there... He went... He took... He's taking a nap. Him -- He's taking a nap and now he's not breathing. I'm -- I'm trying to do mouth to mouth... I don't know... I'm holding his nose while I'm doing it...

Reasonable Certainty

Prosecutor, Margaret Cloutier:
"The medical examiner told us that he could not
have survived outside the pool. He was probably
very close to death when she removed him from
the pool. He was no longer breathing.
And that's for sure."


The odd thing about these defendants is that despite their clever planning, artful lies and tearful testimony (on direct, at least), they apparently don't watch CourtTV. If they did watch CTV, Law & Order, or any of the other crime and justice shows, they would realize how many idiots have made the same sneaky plans, told the same devious lies, and cried those same crocodile tears -- on direct.

The Odom case can be summed up in very few words: Mysterious death of a young child that, post mortem, is found to have suffered recent but supposedly unrelated wounds, and the changing explanation and lies told to authorities by the sole care-taker.

ODOM: I couldn't think of anywhere else he would've received a bruise like that.

CLOUTIER: It was a pretty deep bruise, isn't that right?

ODOM: I don't know what a deep bruise is, but yeah, it was a bruise.

CLOUTIER: Enough for you to go get ice to put on it --

ODOM: Yes, it was a bruise for -- that was enough for me to get ice.

Does the phrase, "The Nanny Trial" send a chill up anybody else's spine? Does the name Louise Woodward ring a harsh bell? If not, here is a brief synopsis of her case: Mysterious death of a young child that, post mortem, is found to have suffered recent but supposedly unrelated wounds, and the changing explanation and lies told to authorities by the sole care-taker.

And please recall the macabre daycare death trial of "California v. Suzanne Johnson". Of course there are many twists and turns to the tortured tale, but a rough outline of the case reads like this: Mysterious death of a young child that, post mortem, is found to have suffered recent but supposedly unrelated wounds, and the changing explanation and lies told to authorities by the sole care-taker.

There are literally hundreds of these cases, and in many of them, the defendant who is often female, faces more than one trial. Why? Because there usually are no witnesses, or the witnesses are young children -- and because juries are loathe to send a mom/ grandmom/ care-taker to prison.

Sadly, the other reason many of these cases end in mistrial, or are pled out, is the fact that juries and the U.S. justice system generally speaking, do not place much value on the dead or injured child victim.

Reasonable Doubt

Odom's first trial in January ended in a mistrial. In opening statements for the second trial, Tom Maher, Sandra Odom's attorney, called the death a tragedy, but not a crime:

"She has struggled to understand how that happened. She struggled to understand how Garrett, who got sick and got better, fortunately -- how that happened while he was under her care. She is a good mother, she is a good citizen, she has never been accused of a crime before."

After the second hung jury, 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.

Sandra's husband, Claude, said he was glad that the ordeal was finally over. "I'm glad [a decision] has finally been made. I don't completely understand why they took it a second time," he said.

Claude Odom
Claude Odom

What Did Sandra Do?

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

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

Soon after that point, Odom said she called 9-1-1. (Not exactly true according to phone records.) 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.

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

On July 12, 2001 -- Odom confessed to police on tape that she left the boys alone in the pool for about 10 minutes. She said she had only lied to protect her image.

"I didn't want anyone saying I'm a bad mother."

Later, Sandra and her attorneys would claim the 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."

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."

Jarrett died from drowning.

The medical examiner said the death of 4-year-old Jarrett Odom was a death by drowning, and a separate specialist testified, "I'm in agreement with the medical examiner that Jarrett Odom died of drowning. I do not believe that within the timeframe that I read of the events that transpired on the fifth of July, 2001, that that could have happened by ingestion of water."

Sandra Odom and her deft defense attorney, Thomas Maher, said the death was an "accident" of some sort.

"She walked into the kitchen area, where she could see into the bedroom where Jarrett was and she noticed that he had bubbles by his mouth and didn't look right. She got closer and he was turning blue. She said, 'Jarrett, what happened, what are you doing?' and realized that there was a real problem here."
-- defense attorney, Thomas Maher

Maher's "it was a bizarre accident" strategy was subsequently tried in the infamous Michael Peterson case.

Odom and her defense team tried to say the "accident" was a medical illness involving the twins. True, if the boys were identical twins they would have the same genetic makeup therefore a strange illness could hit both of them.

But they were not identical twins, they were fraternal -- even so why would the illness hit both of them at the same time? What prompted this "illness"?

Even if they were identical twins, it's ludicrous to suggest that the two healthy boys both experienced this rare disorder at the same time, and in the same way, and yet, insist that it had nothing to do with Sandra Odom -- the sole adult in charge.

Your "genetic make-up" doesn't rise up out of the pool and start pouring water down your throat.

Sandy Explains Her Lies

Police attempted to administer a "lie detector" test, but Ms. Odom could not be tested.

"How do you explain that you are not controlling your breathing in a polygraph test but are trying to just hold onto the last bit of your sanity through such a surreal week and are merely taking deep breaths because of this?"

-- Odom

"I have explained what has happened from day one to pretty much now and my big mouth pretty much kept in trouble with that statement. You heard the statement, but you don't realize that I had not eaten in a week. I had just lost a child, but I was just a stepmother according to every account."

"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."

"I didn't want to say that I left them out in the pool for a few minutes to go into the house, because I didn't want anyone saying I'm a bad mother, because I'm a good mother."

"Involuntary manslaughter can be defined by 4-year-old Jarrett Odom -- as his stepmom going into the house, leaving him in a 4-foot-deep swimming pool for 10 minutes."
-- prosecutor, Margaret Cloutier

There never was a verdict in the second, unsettling Sandra Odom trial.

Eight members of the Odom jury were unable -- or unwilling -- to convict the alternately tearful, angry, shy, insistent, confused and defiant defendant.

The prosecution has thrown in the towel after getting a second "hung" jury. And really, who can blame 'em? Trials are so expensive these days -- the kid's dead, and at this point it just seems unfair to keep prosecuting this pretty, 28-year-old mom for the drowning death of a pre-schooler who was placed in her sole care.

I guess the Spartan Eight of the jury must've thought -- maybe, just maybe it is true that the boy didn't die by drowning, like the doctors testified under oath, maybe this kid died from voluntarily ingesting way too much water, way too fast! That's not homicidal negligence, that's suicidal stupidity.

The evil Step Mom is cleared of any wrongdoing! Let's all go out for a drink and a bite.

Of course, calling this drowning death an occurrence of "water intoxification", is like explaining that a child who was smothered to death during the time he and his mom were playing with a pillow -- actually died from his own sudden, willful and prolonged refusal to breathe -- in a very rare, but not unheard-of instance of self-induced "cotton asphyxiation".

Well there's a sucker impaneled every minute, and yes, "water intoxication" could explain away this child's freak illness -- but the problem with Odom's internet inspired defense is the second child's freak illness, which manifested itself in the very same way, at the very same time.

Lightening may strike twice, it may even strike twice in one minute -- but it won't do identical damage both times.

None of the other children in the house developed an inexplicable, lethal love of chlorine, just the steptwins, but according to this jury, Sandra Odom was the helpless on-looker to a unique and bizarre scenario, where two 4-year-olds were engaged in a cleverly disguised, highly secretive but deadly, "pool-water gulping and drinking challenge", designed to end in twin suicides but also to escape the notice of anyone watching.

The sincere, sorrowful, befuddled, yet indignant Sandra Odom never left her husband's toddlers alone -- she was in the pool the whole time but detected no surreptitious, simultaneous suicide attempt.

The evil old Step Mom walks away a beautiful young princess. Ta-Da!

So it seems, if you're unhappy with the cards life has dealt you -- if you're angry and you want to abuse or even murder someone in hateful spite, but you don't want to go to prison for it… just kill a toddler or two. Even if they convict you, you'll be out in a few years -- and it's a chance to finally get that "time away" that you've been talking about so much.


Tracie Alfieri meets Sandra Odom

TRACIE ALFIERI, like so many murderers before her, would like the court to accept the convenient excuse -- "I didn't know."

"I didn't know speeding past other cars while I was in the slow lane could cause a death."

"I didn't know by slamming on my brakes, a person would go flying through their window shield."

"I didn't know there was a semi parked along the highway."

"I didn't know about the un-born baby."

"I didn't know about the years of punishing pain and rehab."

"I didn't know my pride would go before somebody else's fall."

No, you didn't know. You're not GOD, so the reality is, you know precious little. You didn't know, but the criminal indictment is, you didn't care -- so your ignorance is no protection from liability.

"Not knowing" is the central irony of the human condition. Read OEDIPUS REX and explore the agonizing concept of what it means to "not know" -- but you can study it from a cold, lonely prison cell, because just as you didn't know then, you don't know now and you never will know much of anything -- and we would have to vacate every prison in America if we based liability on whether or not a person "knew" of the atrocious consequences caused by their selfish, petty, malicious actions.

The self-satisfied Sandy Odom said she feels responsible for what happened to her dead stepson, but said she does not believe she should be charged with a crime. Her explanation? "I didn't know." So true a statement, and yet so very false a defense. Odom did not know, and that's why she needed to have taken extra care. The only true defense is to prove that you fully realized your ignorance, and that you acted affirmatively to prevent a catastrophe. One thing a care-taker of seven children under the age of 9 ought to have known, is that a catastrophe was waiting to occur.

Similarly, regardless of the behavior of the victim and her un-born child, TRACIE ALFIERI ought to have known she was racing toward calamity. Insisting now, that she didn't know, is silly. Insisting that RENE ANDREWS was also driving toward a disaster is even more ridiculous, in that she got what was coming to her, didn't she?

It's pointless to blame the victim.

Blaming the mangled woman who lay comatose on the concrete will in no way help ALFIERI'S defense. And you certainly can't blame the only person involved in the road rage war that hadn't ever taken a driver's test -- the un-born Baby Andrews.

She may not have known that RENE ANDREWS was with child, but TRACIE ALFIERI knew that other drivers could be reckless, and that she was to always drive defensively to avoid maiming and killing other people -- yet her attitude was -- "No one cuts me off." ALFIERI knew some of those other people on the road were possibly drunk, sick, distracted, medicated, crazy or just plain stupid. "No one cuts me off." TRACIE ALFIERI knew auto accidents can and do happen. "No one cuts me off." ALFIERI knew where babies came from, didn't she? And still it was, "No one cuts me off."

Let's be clear about this. 218 "road rage" deaths occurred between 1971 and 1977. At some point, the word "accident" starts to sound a little pathetic. How many funerals does it take before we all start to "know" what it means to get behind the wheel of a car and play games?

TRACIE ALFIERI knew enough to know better. This defendant, like every other murderer, will not be allowed to take a life and then use ignorance as an excuse for murder. Ignorance is not a defense. And if these raging killers don't know anything else -- they should know that.

"I still believe what you did was mean and vicious."
-- Judge Dinkelacker about defendant, Alfieri

"She wants you desperately to believe that she is a good mother. All that time, Jarrett and Garrett tried to hang on to the edge of that pool but their little arms bent to keep their arms above water."
-- Cloutier

"We are not giving her a report card on parenting. We are judging whether she is guilty of a crime."
-- Maher

"Nobody is accepting what she says, even though her children have been interviewed and have said the same thing, None of the children have said that the twins were left alone in the pool. Nobody will listen to her and no one will listen to her children."
-- Maher

TRIAL #1 || January 2002 -- Jurors deliberated 9 1/2 hours and were deadlocked 7-5 in favor of acquittal.

TRIAL #2 || September 2002 -- Jurors deliberated four hours over two days and were deadlocked 8-4 in favor of acquittal.

"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

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

"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."
-- Maher

"Janet Odom 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, speaking of
Jarrett and Garrett's biological mother

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

Squats and Cold Baths

Under the screenname Poetic Justice,
I posted the following item to the
internet on DECEMBER 3, 2002:

I suspect we'll never know if Sandra Odom abused those twin toddlers by leaving them alone in the backyard pool. We do know she subjected her children to "squats" and cold-water baths as punishment for misbehavior -- and that's the kind of bizarre psychological abuse that can scar a child for life.

A strange child death in the home of a child abuser is worth more attention than this is getting. It is certainly worth having a third trial.

With the jury unwilling to convict the 28-year-old mother, the mystery of Jarrett Odom's death may never be solved. The internet savvy Odom suggested "water intoxication", which may well be the cause, but "water intoxication" in no way excuses her.

If Odom was watching over the infants the entire time, why didn't she stop them from gulping down the chemically treated pool water? Why did she ignore the 4-year-olds as they coughed and threw up water, swayed and wobbled in sickness, went to the bathroom on themselves and finally dropped to their knees in front of the back door as they waited for Odom to help?

Perhaps Sandy wasn't alarmed by the children's behavior, because they acted much the same way her kids do, after forced sets of "squats".

She may not be a killer, but an unsupervised Sandra Odom should no longer be trusted to manage and care for children, she is an accident waiting to happen -- to them.

Although we'll never know if Sandra abused her stepsons, we do know someone abused them.

They were both healthy and happy, and then they both got violently ill, and one of them died. That's either a unique case of an obscure medical condition suddenly developing in two different children, simultaneously -- or a case of child abuse. Strange and unfortunate accidents do happen and rare disorders do suddenly manifest themselves -- but not in the same way and at the same time in two people.

Almost half an hour went by before Sandra Odom sought help for the twins who had turned blue by the time Odom was done making various personal and business phone calls and dressing the boys in street clothes. ("Here, get out of those wet things and put on this nice outfit to throw up and poop on.")

Interestingly enough, when she did finally get around to calling for help, Sandra Odom dialed the wrong number! Now what part of 9-1-1 gave her so much trouble?

If she left the 4-year-olds alone in the pool, she is guilty of negligence. If she was with them the entire time in the pool, but did nothing to help, she is guilty of far worse.

According to defense attorney Thomas Maher -- Sandra Odom is not allowed to have any visitation with Garrett Odom, even if there are other adults present.


Because she's dangerous.

Sandra Odom - posting to the
internet under the screenname
"Truth?Justice?" responded:

The boys were twins Poetic. They had similar physiological make-up. They were both asthmatic. Jarrett had been taken to the emergency room for an asthma attack a week before but was not admitted since he regained control in his breathing in the waiting room, (my husband and I didn't learn of this until after our tragedy). He also was given a very serious prescription for Prednisolone a couple weeks before and had a nebulizer which my husband and I were under the impression he no longer was using, (again we found out after that he was still using it).

What was brought out in the trial was the fact that the boys were up at both 4 in the morning talking when my husband went to the bathroom, and at 7am when he went to work. Their sleepiness was to be expected in what I knew at the time. If I would have ever fathomed that sleepiness was a key sign of this condition than I would have been in the ER as quick as lightning. I never heard of this condition. What are the chances that two boys suffered form drowning and near drowning yet both exhibited symptoms that were possible in a drowning but NOT INDICATIVE? Jarrett had both cerebral edema and low sodium, (hyponatremia), and pulmonary edema, (the ME never bothered to examine what type of fluid was in the lungs - chlorinated water or blood serum - which is seen in water intoxication since there were no considerations at the time of any other alternative to drowning from the info Poppler gave him - from the ME report - "...retrieved from an aboveground pool......see enclosed newspaper report.").

Cerebral Edema and low sodium are possible but not the NORM in a drowning. Garrett was given meds for cerebral edema initially since it was suspected he did have cerebral edema so by the time catscans were performed there was no swelling noted, but he did have slightly lower sodium than Jarrett. Again these are NOT indicative signs of a drowning but are possible and TWO boys exhibited them.

My Grandmother died last year and she went her whole life being misdiagnosed with various disorders that mimic each other. It wasn't until approx. ten years ago they discovered that she had lupus. It was following a stroke. My family didn't go out to sue her previous doctors or lay blame but the facts are that medicine is constantly changing and being updated. How many people have died from misdiagnosed disorders? It's easy to call something rare when information is limited.

As far as still being denied contact with Garrett, it is because due to the criminal proceedings an order was issued that I could have no contact direct or indirect. Even though the criminal case is dropped, the only way to get that order changed in Family Court is for the case to be heard. Janet's lawyer asked for a continuance, so no motions were heard to alter the existing order. The next court date is scheduled in mid-December. There are no new judgments by any person in authority to keep this order in effect, we are just dealing with a beaurocracy to get the order altered.

I answered your comments on squats so I will not bore you with a repeat except to say what the children did was by no means the kind of squat you are alluding to. It was merely an easy way to get out of time-out.

Poetic Justice RESPONSE

Sandra Odom -- you are directly responsible for that boy's death. That's the truth. You can dance around all you want, insisting that this was all some horrible freak accident -- you and I both know it's a big load of... nonsense. YOU were in charge and YOU are to blame. YOU and ONLY YOU. YOU are the bizarre, rare and deadly condition that suddenly took that baby's life, and I believe the "pre-existing condition" was your frustration.

It is time for you stop venting, and start pre-venting, so that no more bizarre conditions suddenly manifest themselves in the innocent children left in your care.

"The boys were twins, Poetic."

Yeah, they were twins, before Jarrett's murder, Sandra, but they were not identical twins and they weren't joined at the hip. Did you go on the internet and find a website that told you 4-year-old twins often develop mysterious conditions simultaneously? If so, please link me.

"Jarrett had been taken to the emergency room for an asthma attack a week before...

... also was given a very serious prescription for Prednisolone a couple weeks before..."

So they were not very healthy at the time, were they? YOU WERE IN CHARGE, SANDRA. They were coughing and spitting up water. They were sick and falling to the ground for GOD'S SAKE. If you knew these boys had medical problems, it actually makes your case worse, not better.

"What was brought out in the trial was the fact that the boys were up at both 4 in the morning talking ...

...their sleepiness was to be expected in what I knew at the time. If I would have ever fathomed that sleepiness was a key sign of this condition than I would have been in the ER as quick as lightning. I never heard of this condition."

You are a liar, and not a very good one. You have made up so many lies, even you can't keep them straight. And by the way MOM, sleepiness is a symptom of almost every illness, as is vomiting, crying and falling over in dizziness. At any rate, a sleepy 4-year-old does not belong in a pool.

YOU knew something was terribly, terribly wrong, but YOU never called for help, Sandra. You called your husband to ask, "can you believe they're sleepy?" -- yet now you say you were well aware they were sleepy.

What never came out at trial, Sandra, was your verdict of GUILT.

"How many people have died from misdiagnosed disorders? It's easy to call something rare when information is limited."

Apparently, it's very easy for YOU.

Sandra, if you had called for help when these TWO HUMAN BEINGS first started showing signs of extreme illness, they most likely would both be alive right now. That was the medical testimony. Do you understand that, Sandra? YOU were the rare and cruel condition that visited those boys.

"I answered your comments on squats so I will not bore you with a repeat except to say what the children did was by no means the kind of squat you are alluding to. It was merely an easy way to get out of time-out."

You don't assign a "time-out" and then give a toddler the option of "squatting" his way out of it.

You do not give a child a cold-water bath as a punishment.

You do not take the time to phone your credit card company when a child has orange foam coming out of his mouth.

Upon seeing a dizzy and confused child's feces running down his trembling legs -- you do not ask someone to bring you a garden hose so you can rinse him down like a dog.

Sandra Odom RESPONSE:

As far as you Poetic...the misinformation you are spouting is continuous and your judgment rhetorical.

There were no calls to my credit card company. The two calls I assume you are talking about, which came approximately 15 minutes before the 911 call, were to the Sprint cell phone company. In your refusal to look at all of the facts you are missing the fact that I was not worried about the boys until I saw Jarrett in trouble. It was a CELL phone and the only likely conclusion I can even draw is that the calls were to check on minutes. I also check my bank balances on the phone as well and it is a very forgettable and common occurence.

Contrary to popular belief, I can walk with a phone while taking care of other things. You are bent on making facts up as YOU go along yet you say I am the one making up lies. I have paid for changing my statement on July 12, 2001, and still am, but you tell me where else I have stated untruths. I am trying to answer as many questions as possible keeping in mind that I am not a doctor and it appears that doctors themselves have differing opinions on this subject.

Poetic Justice RESPONSE

"There were no calls to my credit card company. The two calls I assume you are talking about, which came approximately 15 minutes before the 911 call, were to the Sprint cell phone company."

I beg your pardon, it was a phone company. I'm glad you cleared that up. Now, can you shed some light as to why you were calling any utility company at that point? Electric, gas, phone or whatever?

You're as transparent as you can be, and yet you continue to sit on the internet and posture about your innocence? If you really are Sandra Odom, your nerve is truly amazing.

Your entire story is full of lies. Not little mistakes like whether it was a credit card company or a telephone company -- but huge glaring lies and outright fabrications. All of it is total nonsense. From your slippery tale of twin accidents at the pool, to the lies you told 9-1-1, the damaging stories you told police and later recanted, and to the bruising details you consistently FAILED to reveal to anyone.

Sandra Odom, you never, ever -- not in 5 or 6 interviews -- ever told police you made ANY phone calls to any company. That is a lie of omission, and it reveals as much as any other lie. As Marcia Clark put it in her closing at the O.J. trial, "Lies are instructive." People lie when the truth will hurt them.

You requested, "tell me where else I have stated untruths." Okay. Let's review what you said under oath...

The very Best of
Sandy on the Stand


CLOUTIER: And I believe you indicated that Garrett fell… fell on top of Jarrett?

ODOM: Yes, the ladder is shaky--

CLOUTIER: You were still in the pool at that point?

ODOM: Yes, I was.

CLOUTIER: And you indicated that you looked out over the side of the pool and asked if they were alright?

ODOM: Yeah, Garrett got up, and I said 'Are you okay?' You know, I was nervous. I actually was gonna go over the ladder and go make sure they were okay. I thought for sure something -- they'd -- be injured.

CLOUTIER: In fact they broke the bucket that was down there, is that right?

ODOM: Yes, they did.

CLOUTIER: And Garrett indicated to you that he was okay?

ODOM: Yes.

CLOUTIER: But -- he wasn't crying?


CLOUTIER: And Jarrett wasn't crying?


CLOUTIER: They didn't run and play after that, did they?


CLOUTIER: In fact, you noticed that they were sleepy?

ODOM: They were sleepy, yes.

CLOUTIER: And -- they weren't crying or disturbed about the fall?


CLOUTIER: But you expected that they would be?

ODOM: Yes.

CLOUTIER: And yet they weren't, and that didn't concern you, that they weren't crying?

ODOM: Like I said, I've seen all different degrees of injury. I've seen crying on some and I've seen no crying on others. It just… depends -- I've seen my year and-a-half-year old run into a door and sit there and giggle about it… I -- There was no crying.


CLOUTIER: They went through each and every step with you, to get you to give every detail of what happened during -- in that period of time on the 5th?

ODOM: Right.

CLOUTIER: And they asked you every detail about what you did, leading up to your 9-1-1 call, is that right?

ODOM: Yes.

CLOUTIER: At no time did you ever say that you called the SPRINT Company about your cell phone service?

ODOM: No, I don't think I did. I don't remember actually doing it. I don't even know if maybe I was just on "hold" waiting to talk to somebody. I have no idea who those calls were. I can't tell you now what I was doing with those calls.

CLOUTIER: You brought Jarrett into the bedroom?

ODOM: Yes.

CLOUTIER: And then you came back and you attended to Garrett?

ODOM: Yes.

CLOUTIER: And that's when you saw the bruise?

ODOM: Yeah, and I'm not saying that I like…ran over to Garrett. I didn't think there was a problem so, as far as the phone call, I don't know what the time frame was when I would have called, I just know I wasn't worried -- at that time.

CLOUTIER: So you did other things after you left Jarrett to lay down for his nap, before you went back to Garrett?

ODOM: Evidently I made a phone call to SPRINT, and I don't know -- I don't know why…

CLOUTIER: What else did you do?

ODOM: I've told you everything that I know. …I don't want to come up with any new facts, now.

CLOUTIER: You don't want to come up with any new facts?



CLOUTIER: You had already known that Jarrett had been acting sleepy, correct?

ODOM: Yes.

CLOUTIER: And Garrett had been acting sleepy?

ODOM: Yes.

ODOM: Garrett had thrown up water outside, isn't that right?


ODOM: So had Jarrett?

CLOUTIER: Not as much, yes.

ODOM: They were so sleepy, that they were irritable with you and out of sorts, and you had a hard time getting Jarrett into the house, isn't that right?

CLOUTIER: I didn't have a hard time but yes, they were irritable…

ODOM: And Garrett was irritable and resistant and didn't want to come into the house either, cause he was so sleepy, isn't that right?


CLOUTIER: And you went back to Garrett, is that right?

ODOM: I did go back to Garrett.

CLOUTIER: You saw a bruise on him, is that right?

ODOM: Yes I did.

CLOUTIER: That you assumed came from falling on the bucket?

ODOM: I couldn't think of anywhere else he would've received a bruise like that.

CLOUTIER: It was a pretty deep bruise, isn't that right?

ODOM: I don't know what a deep bruise is, but yeah, it was a bruise.

CLOUTIER: Enough for you to go get ice to put on it --

ODOM: Yes, it was a bruise for -- that was enough for me to get ice.

CLOUTIER: And that's when you noticed that Jarrett was having a problem?

ODOM: Yes.

CLOUTIER: Did you ask any of the medical personnel that were in your home, to check on the other children?



ODOM: Nobody else was sleepy… like that -- that was the only symptom that I could think of, that I could think for them to be looking at.


MAHER: The shorts you gave [police] on that Monday -- did you believe those were the shorts that the boys had on, on July 5th?"

ODOM: I believed they were the boy's shorts because we had washed all the clothes for the kids going down to Florida, and so…uh… There were blue shorts and there were jean shorts, and when I walked them over to the dryer, I didn't see any shorts up there which is where I had assumed they were, and so then I said, "hold on" and I went to my bedroom and on the top of the stack of clothing, there was a pair of blue shorts and jean shorts. They're twins, they had two of everything. I -- I didn't go through to check that I had two pairs of blue shorts and two pairs of jean shorts, I just gave them the blue -- blue shorts and the jean shorts, from the top.

Odom's Ode

A poem by Sandra Odom,

"I cry for this system
which just doesn't listen
it screams for vengeance
in a world with a penchant
for twisting the facts
without much to back"

I cry for the system too.

Had Odom been found GUILTY in her trial and been given the harshest possible penalty -- she would only have served two years in prison. I break down and cry every time I think of it.