Daily Archives: January 9, 2010

Joseph Roger O’Dell, III

This is old news, but I recently was researching for a civil case but came upon this case.  Guy was tried, fried and buried, but to this day death penalty opponents cite him as a case of an “innocent man” being put to death.  I was struck by the certainty of the Supreme Court on the one hand compared to the certainty of the anti-death penalty crowd on the other.  Worth a read I think.

FACTS [taken directly from the Va Supreme Court decision turning down his appeal.

         …On Tuesday, February 5, 1985, the victim, Helen Schartner, left a night club in Virginia Beach known as the County Line Lounge about 11:30 p.m. O’Dell left the same club sometime between 11:30 p.m. and 11:45 p.m. The next day, February 6, 1985, Schartner’s car was found in the parking lot of the County Line Lounge. Near 3:00 p.m. the same day, Schartner’s body was discovered among the reeds in a field near a muddy area behind another club, across the highway from the County Line Lounge. Tracks from tires consistent with the tires on O’Dell’s car were discovered in an area near Schartner’s body.

        Schartner had been killed by manual strangulation. She also had eight separate wounds on her head caused by blows from a handgun equipped with a cylinder. These head wounds produced extensive bleeding. A handgun with a cylinder was seen in O’Dell’s car about 10 days prior to the murder. Continue reading