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Plea deal rejected; judge recuses self

KINGMAN – A Mohave County judge has rejected a plea agreement for a man who stole property from a man who gave him a place to stay, beat his wife in Dolan Springs and fired bullets at sheriff’s deputies. Judge Billy Sipe last Thursday said the plea deal mandating a 15.5-year prison sentence for Wendell Odom, 37 was too lenient.

Investigation began in late March when Vaughan Hargrave reported that a firearm had been stolen when Odom left his property. Deputies learned that Odom had abused his wife and they encountered gunfire when they tried to confront him on April 3. No one was injured.

Hargrave told the court that he tried to help the defendant, but said he learned that Odom was a sociopath and a psychopath.

“He’s both. He terrorized people. He raped and beat his wife,” Hargrave said.

Odom wanted Judge Sipe to know that he suffers from a “schizophrenic bipolar explosive disorder” and his crimes resulted from personal stress in his life.

“I didn’t know who I was,” Odom said. “I was heartbroken. I was confused. I was lost. I made up a bunch of things in my head that I know weren’t true. I apologize.”

Judge Sipe cited a litany of crimes committed by Odom, beginning with the theft of weapons, tools, a television and other property belonging to Hargrave. Sipe said Odom brutalized his wife when he secured her to a chair with duct tape and abused her with a knife, machete, ice pic, butt of a gun, flashlight and a frying pan before firing on deputies about one week later.

Judge Sipe said society needs to be protected from Odom, labeling him a deadly individual.

“He’s dangerous. He’s violent,” Sipe said of Odom. “It’s clear to me that he’s going to kill or be killed.”

In rejecting the plea deal, Judge Sipe recused himself from further legal proceedings involving Odom. He sent the case to presiding criminal Judge Derke Carlisle for reassignment to another judge.

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