Closing arguments Monday in Odom rape trial

Published 8:53 am Monday, March 28, 2011

An East Brewton man claimed innocence on charges of rape Friday, a day after the teenage victim testified that she had been raped “often” by the defendant.

The trial, which began Wednesday, recessed Friday before closing arguments could be presented.

Timothy Odom was indicted by a grand jury in November 2008 on charges of first-degree rape of a child under 16.

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Prosecuting and defense attorneys had both rested their cases Friday morning and were ready to begin closing arguments when Circuit Judge Bert Rice called for a time of discussion on how to charge the jury before deliberation.

“There are some issues of law that need to be discussed,” Rice told the jurors. “We will cut hay by 9 a.m. Monday morning. I have spent time with the attorneys to make certain that when I explain law to you, we’re right on target.”

During testimony for the prosecution, the victim, now 16, took the stand and related the events of July 4, 2006 when one of the alleged incidents took place.

The Atmore Advance does not identify the victims of sexual assault.

“After you went home from the fireworks, what happened?” Assistant District Attorney Amanda Hines asked the victim.

“I was in my room watching TV,” the victim said. “He came in there and tried to mess with me.”

“How did he mess with you?” Hines asked.

“He took my clothes off and he started raping me,” the victim said. “When he got done he left.”

“Did he rape you after that?” Hines asked.

“Yes,” the victim responded. “Pretty often.”

Under cross-examination by defense attorney Wade Hartley, the girl appeared confused about when the abuse began and how long it occurred.

As the trial resumed Friday morning, Hartley called witnesses for the defense. Timothy Odom took the stand in his own defense.

Prosecuting attorney and assistant district attorney Todd Sterns questioned Odom about events leading to the allegations.

“She trusted you,” Sterns said. “You told her that she would get sent off if she told anyone, didn’t you? You said you would go to prison and you told her someone would die just to make her feel it was her fault, didn’t you?”

Odom denied the allegations against him in the case citing medical conditions in his defense.

“No conversation like that ever came up between us,” Odom told Sterns. “I lost my sexual desire because of diabetes. I did not touch that child. I’m not going to sit here and admit to something I didn’t do.”

According to Sgt. Adam Johnson at the time of Odom’s arrest, the rape was reported by the child to her mother, who called the Department of Human Resources and the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office. The case was under the investigation of Johnson, who is in the investigation division of the sheriff’s department and was assigned with the Escambia County Regional Child Advocacy Center at the time of the arrest. Odom has been out on bond since a short time after the arrest.

The trial will continue Monday at 9 a.m. at the Escambia County Courthouse as attorneys begin closing arguments, with the jury expected to begin deliberations immediately following those remarks.