E'town man pleads guilty to domestic assault

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Prosecutors recommend 11-year sentence for former Mississippi police officer

By Sarah Bennett

A former Mississippi police officer pleaded guilty Monday in Hardin Circuit Court to a felony assault charge for his role in a domestic violence incident last October in Elizabethtown.

Michael R. Odom, 42, was arrested Oct. 15 at his Oriole Drive home after police said he repeatedly struck his wife and pointed a gun at her head. In November, he was indicted on charges of attempted murder, first-degree rape, second-degree assault and tampering with physical evidence.

Odom’s jury trial was set to begin Monday. Instead, the defendant entered a guilty plea.

First Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Chris McCrary said Odom pleaded guilty to tampering with physical evidence as well as amended charges of assault under extreme emotional disturbance, third-degree terroristic threatening and sexual misconduct.

He also pleaded guilty to a new charge of tampering with a witness, McCrary said, which stems from his attempts while in jail to prevent his wife from testifying.

The attempted murder charge was dismissed as officials do not believe the gun was loaded, he said.

Because Odom allegedly made verbal threats to kill his wife, McCrary said he did plead guilty to terroristic threatening.

Prosecutors are recommending Odom serve 11 years in prison, McCrary said.

A formal sentencing is set for July 9 in Hardin Circuit Judge Ken Howard’s courtroom at which time the judge may accept or reject the agreement.

During a preliminary hearing in October in Hardin District Court, Elizabethtown Detective Sgt. Brian Graham said the fight ensued after Odom attempted to initiate sexual contact with his wife. When she refused, he allegedly accused her of infidelity and threw a laptop computer at her.

According to Graham’s testimony, the victim reported to police Odom repeatedly struck her with his closed fist and the gun. She also told investigators he forced sexual contact and made her take a shower after the incident.

On Monday, McCrary said prosecutors have consulted with the victim and the agreement was made “within the confines of what she wanted to see happen.”

He said officials believe the incident was triggered by an event that caused Odom to become emotionally charged.

The former police officer, he said, has no criminal history prior to this event.

Odom remains lodged at Hardin County Detention Center in lieu of a $50,000 cash bond.

Sarah Bennett can be reached at (270) 505-1750 or sbennett@thenewsenterprise.com.