DA seeks death penalty against N.C. woman's accused killer

Maggie Daniels.

CBS affiliate WBTV

NEWTON, N.C. - The district attorney in the case of a dead North Carolina school employee has filed a motion seeking the death penalty against the woman's accused killer, reports CBS affiliate WBTV.

Sharman Howard Odom, 34, is accused of strangling 31-year-old Maggie Daniels in her Newton, N.C., apartment on June 27. Her body was found the next day. Odom, the victim's neighbor, was indicted two weeks ago by a Catawba County Grand Jury. He is charged with first-degree murder, first-degree sexual offense and first-degree kidnapping.

Sharman Howard Odom, charged in the murder of N.C. teacher Maggie Daniels, appeared to smile as he was taken into custody.
CBS affiliate WBTV

The station reports the motion for a Rule 24 hearing - which is held before a judge in first-degree murder cases to determine whether the state will be seeking the death penalty - was filed on August 19 and made public on Thursday, along with three new search warrants.

The search warrants reveal Odom's apartment was search on July 25 and July 26, along with a search of the suspect himself, according to WBTV. Investigators indicated they were searching for a device "capable of capturing or storing a digital image."

The warrant states Daniels's body was found by police on the bedroom floor of her apartment, wearing only a pair of shorts. Several items in the room were damaged or askew, leading officers to believe a struggle had occurred. There were ligature marks on the body, suggesting Daniels was strangled.

Investigators said there wasn't any sign of forced entry into the apartment, but the front door had been left unlocked, WBTV reports.

A bottle of "Scrubbing Bubbles" with bleach was found inside the apartment, according to the warrant. Investigators said the bottle was likely used to clean the victim's body and that there was an unknown stain on her back.

"Odom is a known car detailer and has cleaning chemicals in his work vehicle," the warrant stated.

A witness reportedly told authorities he saw Odom walking between Daniels's apartment and the building next door the day before investigators discovered the body. He said Odom told him he was walking back from an auto repair shop near the apartments after checking on the progress of his van, the station reports. Five hours later, a woman told police she saw a man matching Odom's description walk from the back of the victim's apartment towards the front of the building.

Investigators said the owner of the auto repair shop - located about a mile from the apartment - never stopped by on Friday.

According to WBTV, Odom's neighbors told investigators that the suspect had mentioned Daniels numerous times in the past, commenting on her looks and saying he wanted to "get with" her. The witness said Odom had shown him pictures of Daniels from the victim's Instagram and Twitter accounts about six weeks before her death.

When questioned by police, Odom denied ever having been in Daniels's apartment, the station reports. An investigator noted that - during his first interview with authorities - the suspect had a patch of hair missing from the front of his head, which officials believe may have been the result of a struggle.

WBTV reports Odom has twice been charged with rape in Mecklenburg County, once in 2010 and again in 2012. In both cases, the suspect was charged with rape, strangulation and common law robbery. A prosecutor said Odom was not convicted in the 2010 case due to problems with evidence and because the victim - a prostitute - had credibility issues.

The station spoke with the woman, whose identity is being concealed. She said, on the night of the attack, she believed she was going to die.

"He strangled me to the point of no return," the woman said. "I was just asking him to please stop and he didn't say nothing, he just kept choking me."

The woman who was raped in December 2012 told WBTV that a man, believed to be Odom, held a rag over her face that smelled that smelled like chemicals. Odom lived in the same apartment complex as the victim as the time of the rape.