(Osceola, AR) What started in Joiner, Arkansas, ended in a Osceola Courtroom Wednesday morning.
Brandon Odom plead no-contest to aggravated assault, essentially not denying he pulled a gun on Reporter April Thompson and photographer Ben Short as they reported on a story March 21, 2012.
Attorney Catherine Dean with the D.A.’s office prosecuted the case, “He decided he would plead to the court so we moved straight to the sentencing phase which is where I put my victims on the stand.”
Ben and April testified about what was clearly caught on video, a gun.
Odom is seen going to his truck, pulling out a gun and walking toward the crew.
April and Ben were on public property at the time and not attempting to talk with Odom.
When Odom turned the gun over to police a few days after the confrontation, he produced a b-b gun.
The prosecutor said whether it was real or not wasn’t the issue.
“If that gun is pulled on a person it looked like a 45 Caliber Glock and would have given anyone reason to think they needed to use deadly force to defend themselves,” said Dean.
Judge Victor Hill agreed, “You were afraid precisely because you did not know and he knew that,” said Judge Hill.
The judge took that into consideration in sentencing and also considered the fact Odom was 18 at the time, had no prior record and eventually turned himself in.
Judge Victor Hill said he hopes every case teaches a lesson, not just to the defendant, but to everyone. He says there is a lesson in this case.
“To just leave people alone. Go about your business and leave other people to go about theirs,” said Hill. “If he had done that he wouldn’t be here today with a felony conviction.”
The judge sentenced Brandon Odom to 3 years probation and 90 days in the county jail.
He’s already served 60 days and has until Monday to start serving the last 30.
Odom has to report to a probation officer for the next 3 years.
If he violates any probation terms he could have to serve six years.
The case the crew was investigating in the first place was the death of senior citizen Wilton Goudeaux, still has one more defendant to be tried.
Former Police Chief Robert Yerby goes on trial in July.