Jury finds Stephen Odom guilty - KiiiTV.com South Texas, Corpus Christi, Coastal Bend

Jury finds Stephen Odom guilty

Posted: Updated:
BEAUMONT -

A jury Thursday found Stephen Odom guilty of intentionally and knowingly causing bodily injury to a child, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison. The 32-year old is accused of the Jan. 2012 death of 3-year old Ja'Kyra Henderson.

Odom was the boyfriend of the child's mother, Keneste Lennette. Odom was unemployed at the time of her death and took care of Ja'Kyra during the day.

Beaumont police responded to Calder Woods retirement center on January 15, 2012 where Ja'Kyra was found dead. Lennette worked at Calder Woods and was planning to take her daughter to the emergency room after work.

According to Lennette, the little girl had been sick since November 2011, but had been diagnosed with a stomach virus two weeks prior to her death.

However, an autopsy of the toddler revealed her cause of death was homicide from complications of blunt force trauma to the abdomen.

Ja'Kyra's seven-year-old brother, Jacob Whitehead, played a key witness in the trial. Jacob said his sister would sometimes have accidents since she was potty training and on two different occasions while his mom was at work, he saw Odom punch Ja'Kyra in the stomach. Jacob said he never told anyone because Odom got angry with him when he found out Jacob told his grandmother about getting a whipping for not knowing how to tie his shoes.

During closing arguments, defense attorneys accused Ja'Kyra's grandmother of creating a "lie" that Odom abused Ja'Kyra and convinced Jacob to say he saw Odom punch his sister. They said it was known that she did not like odom to begin with.

The prosecution argued that if the defense believed the grandmother was behind it, they could have called her to stand, but they never did.

Sentencing will begin Friday at 10 a.m. in Judge Steven's court.

  • Training Aimed At Building Stronger Cases Against Suspected Child Abusers

    Training Aimed At Building Stronger Cases Against Suspected Child Abusers

    Friday, July 25 2014 12:10 AM EDT2014-07-25 04:10:34 GMT
    Several dozen professionals are taking part in a two day training seminar put on by the Department Of Family Protective Services. The professionals are learning techniques that will help them make better cases against those suspected of child abuse.More >>
    Several dozen professionals are taking part in a two day training seminar put on by the Department Of Family Protective Services. The professionals are learning techniques that will help them make better cases against those suspected of child abuse.More >>
  • Man Indicted For Fatal Punch

    Man Indicted For Fatal Punch

    Friday, July 25 2014 12:07 AM EDT2014-07-25 04:07:27 GMT
    A Nueces County grand jury has indicated a man accused of fatally punching another man at a local strip club in April of this year. The victim later died from his injuries.More >>
    A Nueces County grand jury has indicated a man accused of fatally punching another man at a local strip club in April of this year. The victim later died from his injuries.More >>
  • Minimum Wage - Does it Make Cents?

    Minimum Wage - Does it Make Cents?

    Friday, July 25 2014 12:03 AM EDT2014-07-25 04:03:27 GMT
    By executive order, President Obama is increasing the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10. The President hopes to have the private sector follow suit with the pay increase. Meanwhile, the debate continues as to whether the increase would actually help or hinder American workers and our economy.We examine three reasons the increase is good, and three reasons it is not so good in a 3News Special Report: Minimum Wage - Does it Make Cents?More >>
    By executive order, President Obama is increasing the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10. The President hopes to have the private sector follow suit with the pay increase. Meanwhile, the debate continues as to whether the increase would actually help or hinder American workers and our economy.We examine three reasons the increase is good, and three reasons it is not so good in a 3News Special Report: Minimum Wage - Does it Make Cents?More >>
  • Submit a news tip

    Do you know of something that would be a good news story?  Enter your email address and select "Submit"  to send it to 12 News HD.  You can also call the news tip line at 409-838-1212

    * denotes required fields
    We're sorry, but only one entry is allowed per person.
    Thank you for your continued interest.

    Thank you for submitting your news idea to 12News HD!