A Morganton man pleaded guilty Monday to murder in the November shooting death of his son.
Tony Jerome Odum, 50, of 105A Ross St., pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of his son, Emanuel Forest Odum, 27, in Burke County Superior Court.
Judge Daniel A. Kuehnert handed down a sentence of 13 years, 10 months to 17 years, 8 months in prison for the charge.
When Jonathan Greer, assistant district attorney for the state, read the factual basis of the case to the courtroom, he said Emanuel had called 911 before the shooting, and was on the phone with dispatchers when he was shot.
Emanuel told dispatchers that someone inside the residence, later identified as Tony Odum, was drunk and pointing a gun at him while he was trying to get something to eat, Greer said. Emanuel was then shot, and asked the 911 operator to hurry.
He then ran out of the house and fell on the driveway, Greer said.
Tony Odum could then be heard in the background of the call, saying “Oh God, I didn’t mean to shoot you, boy,” Greer said.
Tony then took the phone from Emanuel, and when asked if he needed paramedics, he said “yes ma’am, I shot him,” Greer said.
Emanuel was transported to Carolinas HealthCare System Blue Ridge-Morganton where he was pronounced dead, Greer said.
Tony told police he wasn’t trying to shoot Emanuel.
“He talked about how mad he was that Emanuel had been cussing them, meaning himself and his wife, and being disrespectful,” Greer said. “Tony stated that he started to leave the house but decided not to since it was his house and he usually leaves when they argue. Tony said he was trying to scare Emanuel and fired the gun at him, thinking the cops would tell him not to be shooting the gun in the house.”
Tony also told police that he was being attacked with pots and pans that Emanuel was throwing them at him, but Greer said when law enforcement checked the home they only found a pot lid and a mug.
There was a bullet hole in the wall that separates the kitchen from the living room, Greer said. The bullet went through the wall and hit Emanuel.
Lashonda Odum, Emanuel’s mother and Tony’s wife, spoke to the court, saying that she had forgiven her son and her husband for what happened.
“I know it hurts him as much as it hurts me that we lost our son,” Lashonda said. “We can’t change anything. We just have to accept the fact that he’s gone, he’s going to have to do the time and then he’ll get to come back home.”
Tony’s defense attorney Matthew Cabe said that Emanuel had a troubled past, and struggled with mental health problems and substance abuse issues.
“Within this very small home, the dynamic wasn’t always very good and Emanuel’s behavior was volatile behavior, violent,” Cabe said. “It involved overreacting and getting extremely upset about very small things.”
Cabe said Tony didn’t want to hurt anyone, he just wanted his son to leave.
“Tony’s conduct wasn’t excusable, I’m not trying to make an excuse,” Cabe said. “But what I’m saying is that he certainly was not legally justified in shooting like he did and certainly had no intent that that one shot be fatal.”
Kuehnert described the situation as tragic.
“I have no doubt that Mrs. Odum is the ultimate victim right now,” Kuehnert said. “Having lost a son and now she’s lost her husband for a period of time.”
Kuehnert also recommended a work release for Tony Odum.