[UPDATE] Former FHP Trooper Accused of Sexual Assault in Court Again

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UPDATE 11-19-2010 at 5:45pm by Jerry Askin

Former Florida trooper Charles Odom left the courtroom Friday a free man after hearing a Not Guilty verdict on all counts.

Odom says, "I'm just happy to be a free man again."

In January of 2009, a women accused him of sexually assaulting her on the side of the road after he pulled her over for speeding in Wakulla County.

During closing arguments Friday morning, the state argued the officer tried to abuse his powers to have sex with her and he should face the same punishment as anyone else.

State Attorney Jack Campbell says "When we pull over on the side of the road, we're following their command and there's but one person in charge. They can tell me to open my pocket, open my doors.. they are in charge."

The defense argued that there is a lack of evidence and reasonable doubt that Odom sexually assaulted the woman that night. They argued there were several issues that were inconsistent with the victim's testimony - including the weather.

The victim testified earlier this week that it was clear skies and her hair was dry on the night of the incident, but after the defense brought a climatologist to the witness stand, he proved that it was overcast and raining on the night in question.

Defense Attorney Don Pumphrey says, "If a person lies about one thing, we all know what that person is uncontradicted."

Odom's aunt Lila Webb says, "The family is very happy for this verdict today, it's been a long time coming, this family will be free and get their life back together this time."

Odom says he's just grateful for the jury's decision and he's looking forward to spending quality time with his family.

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UPDATE 11-19-2010 12:45pm

Odom not guilty on all counts.

Stay with WCTV.tv for details.

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UPDATE 11-19-2010 10:43am

Closing arguments were heard this morning in the trial for a former Florida trooper charged with sexually assaulting a woman he pulled over for speeding in Wakulla County in January 2009.

The state argues that no one is above the law and the law enforcement officer should face the same punishment as anyone else. Prosecutor Jack Campbell says the victim never gave the officer consent to have sexual relations with her and the trooper used his power to take advantage of the victim that night. The state argues that Trooper Odom did not fill out the appropriate paperwork when he pulled the woman over for speeding because he did not want to have any records on file of the later events that happened that night.

The defense argues that the victim has told multiple versions of her story and that it's not consistent. He says she lied about the weather that night and the speed she was traveling that night, which suggests that she would not be completely honest in her testimony of her claim that Odom assaulted her. The defense argues the accusations cannot be proven and there is reasonable doubt that Odom sexually assaulted the victim that night because there are no records or documentation to prove it. He was simply giving her a break that night and a warning when he did not fill out the paperwork or give her a ticket for speeding.

Odom is being charged with Sexual Battery and Misuse of Public Office.

We will have more on this trial and the verdict (pending the jury deliberation) later on Eyewitness News.

Stay with WCTV.tv for updates
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UPDATE 11-19-2010 9:43am

The jury is being instructed on deliberations.

Stay with WCTV.tv for updates

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UPDATE 11-19-2010 9:43am

The defense is presenting closing arguments now in the Odom trial.

Stay with WCTV.tv for updates

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UPDATE 11-19-2010 9:20am

The state is presenting closing arguments now in the Odom trial.

Stay with WCTV.tv for updates
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UPDATE 11-18-2010 7:50pm

The defense spent the day in court Thursday trying to poke holes in a woman's claims that former Florida trooper Charles Odom sexually assaulted her when he pulled her over for speeding In January of 2009.

She testified this week that she wasn't speeding, however, a forensic engineer testified and proved that the victim was driving at least 70 miles per hour in a 45.

Climatologist David Zierden then took the stand and testified that it was completely overcast and raining that night.. contradicting the victim's testimony that her hair was wet and and the skies were clear.

FSU Genetic and molecular biology professor Dr. Bryant Chadwick testified today in court that he analyzed the data done by FDLE on the night of the incident... and he says the DNA replica is not consistent with Odom's.

The prosecutor questioned Chadwick on his analysis of the results done by the FDLE. Chadwick admitted he has never testified before about DNA evidence.

Closing arguments are scheduled for Friday morning at 9am. And the jury is expected to start deliberating by tomorrow afternoon.

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UPDATE 11-18-2010 11:05am

The defense brought the witnesses to the stand today. One was a forensic engineer and one is a climatologist who investigated the speed and weather of events that night.

Stay with WCTV for details.

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UPDATE 11-17-2010 4:50pm

It's Day 2 in the trial for former Florida trooper, Charles Odom, accused of sexually assaulting a woman during a traffic stop in Wakulla County.

The state called five FDLE investigators to the stand today who examined the sweatpants the victim wore on the night she claims she was sexually assaulted.

One of the witnesses testified that only 2 of the 13 DNA markers were consistent with Odom's DNA, but that he couldn't be ruled out either.

The trial will continue at 9 AM Thursday morning and the defense will begin presenting its witnesses. Stay tuned to Eyewitness News for the latest in this trial.

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UPDATE 11-16-2010 10:20pm

A second trial is now underway for Florida trooper, Charles Odom who is accused of sexually assaulting a Wakulla County woman last January.

Odom first went on trial last December after a women said he sexually assaulted her on Shadeville Highway when he pulled her over for speeding. However, jurors were unable to come up with a verdict, and a mistrial was declared.

Odom's aunt Lila Webb says, "I think things went very well today and we'll be back again tomorrow to support again tomorrow. I think all in all it's a pretty good chance we'll come home with a winner this time."

Several witnesses from the Wakulla County Sheriff's Office testified Tuesday about what happened the night of the traffic stop. The trial will pick back up at 9am Wednesday morning at the Wakulla County Courthouse. ______________________________________________________
[UPDATE] 11-16-2010 4:27pm --

The second trial for a Florida trooper charged with sexually assaulting a woman he pulled has begun in Wakulla County.

Charles Odom originally went on trial in December 2009, accused of sexually assaulting a woman during a traffic stop in Wakulla County back in January of 2009, but when jurors could not come to an agreement, it was declared a mistrial. The victim claims Odom sexually assaulted her on the side of Shadeville Highway when he pulled her over for speeding.

Several witnesses took the stand on Tuesday to talk about what happened the night of the traffic stop. Court will resume at 9am tomorrow (Wednesday November 17).

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[UPDATE] 11-16-2010 --

The second trial for a Florida trooper charged with sexually assaulting a woman he pulled over began this 11/16 morning in Wakulla County.

Charles Odom originally went on trial in December 2009, accused of sexually assaulting a woman during a traffic stop in Wakulla County back in January of 2009, but when jurors could not come to an agreement, it was declared a mistrial. The victim claims Odom sexually assaulted her on the side of Shadeville Highway when he pulled her over for speeding.

We'll have more from the trial later on Eyewitness News.

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Updated -- 12-4-2009 -- 10:51pm.

Friday's decision came as a disappointment to all parties involved.

Both the victim and Charles Odom's family were looking for closure in the case, but each side walked away from the courtroom, knowing they'll have to relive their worst nightmare all over again.

"I know all of you have worked hard to find a verdict in this case and apparently it's been impossible for you so far."

Six jurors were sent back behind closed doors Friday, after they had difficulty finding a unanimous verdict for Charles Odom, the FHP trooper accused of sexually assaulting a Wakulla County woman back in January.

But as the minutes turned into four hours, the jurors remained divided five to one, causing the case to be thrown out as a mistrial.

And that means starting from scratch, with a new jury and a new court date in early 2010.

"It's a difficult case and I'd like to be able to get some closure. At the same time, I want the jury to get it right and I don't want compromises to be made. I want the truth to come out," says State Prosecutor Jack Campbell.

"I'm sure the citizens did what their heart told them to do, but we're disappointed," says defense attorney Anthony Guarisco.

Odom's wife could be seen with her hand on his back offering support to her husband.

And his aunt says the emotional and financial toll on their family has been immeasurable.

"Hopefully one day this family can get their life back. We will be here, we will be here to support him everyday," says Odom's Aunt, Lila Web.

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Updated 6:15 p.m.

This case involving Charles Odom has been declared mistrial. I was standing by the courtroom doors and could hear the six jurors yelling back and forth. After four hours they could not come to an agreement on Odom's guilt or innocence. We want to warn you, some of the details of this story may be considered graphic.

53-year-old Odom had his wife and family by his side as they waited for the jury's decision. But the final outcome has left both sides disappointed. Odom is accused of sexually assaulting a woman during a traffic stop in Wakulla County back in January.

"It's still stress on the family, it's still not finished, you know the family, the children, the stress they went through. The family's lost their house, the financial strain on the family for this," said Lila Webb, Odom's Aunt.

Prosecutors say they too want closure for the victim. "This was a hotly contested trial, obviously very emotional issues. It's a difficult thing for this entire community. Nobody likes a case that involves crime being committed by a law enforcement officer," said prosecutor Jack Campbell.

The woman claims Odom touched her inappropriately, asked her to expose her breasts, then had her perform oral sex on him when he pulled her over for speeding on Shadeville Highway.

The victim was not in the courtroom when the mistrial was declared. The judge has allowed Odom to remove his gps monitor for now.

Odom will go back on trial February 1st.
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Updated 2:30p.m

There was a hung jury resulting in a mistrial in the case of former FHP trooper Charles Odom.

We will bring you more information as soon as it becomes available.
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Updated 11:15a.m 12-4

The case of a former FHP Trooper accused of sexually assaulting a woman during a traffic stop is now in the hands of the jury.

Jury deliberations got underway around 10:30 Friday morning.
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Our cameras were the only ones rolling as the trial entered day four. The wife of Charles Odom, the former FHP trooper on trial for sexual assault, took the stand today, claiming *he* was the one who was touched inappropriately. We want to warn you, some of the details are explicit.

The wife of former FHP trooper Charles Odom was the fourth person the defense called to the stand. She testified that her husband was the victim. She said he told her that on the night of January 28th, the victim was the one who touched him and exposed her breasts when he pulled her over for speeding on Shadeville Highway.

Prosecutor: "And did he tell you that she had touched his penis?"
Rita Odom: "Yes he did."
Prosecutor: "And did he tell you that she had been speeding?"
Rita Odom: "Um, well we talked about, yes he did tell me that."
Prosecutor: "Did he tell you that she had been drinking?"
Rita Odom: "Yes."

She told the jury Odom didn't arrest the woman because she was having financial problems and he felt sorry for her. The victim says Odom sexually assaulted her on the hood of his car. She claims he then had her follow him to a special spot, behind Savannah's Restaurant where she unwillingly performed oral sex on him.

The woman testified Wednesday, telling the jury she felt like she had been raped, while the defense tried to convince the jury that she was no victim. Attorneys called upon an expert in treating survivors of violent crimes to testify.

"After reviewing the information, it was my opinion that her behaviors and her actions in this video tape that I watched and all the collateral information that I received that she was inconsistent with a person who had been sexually assaulted," said psychologist Dr. Jill Ricke.

The state cross-examined that witness, saying she never met the victim and this was only an opinion. The defense also called upon other experts to point out inconsistencies with the victim's testimony.

The defense rested late Thursday afternoon and the jury will begin deliberating Friday morning.



 

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