Suspect arrested in slaying of Newton high school counselor

08/02/2014 1:22 PM

08/04/2014 11:07 AM

Authorities arrested a suspect Saturday in the slaying of high school counselor Maggie Daniels, a little more than a month after she was found dead in her Newton apartment.

Sharman Howard Odom, 34, a former Charlotte resident with an extensive arrest record, was charged with murder. Investigators said he lived in the same apartment complex where Daniels’ body was discovered on June 28.

Police arrested Odom in Winston-Salem just before 3 p.m. Saturday, Newton police Maj. Timothy Hayes said, declining to elaborate. Within hours, Odom was being processed at Catawba County Jail.

Information about his bond was not immediately available. Authorities plan to hold a press conference about the case in the next few days.

According to police, physical evidence obtained during the investigation and analyzed by the North Carolina State Crime Lab led them to Odom.

Speaking before the arrest, Carrie Donley, an information specialist with Catawba County Schools who knew Daniels, said Saturday she was extremely happy the police had named a suspect in the killing.

“It will make a world of difference to this community to have this behind us,” Donley said, “and remember Maggie in happy ways instead of a bunch of question marks.”

Daniels, 31, moved to North Carolina in 2005 just after graduating from Notre Dame College near her hometown of Cleveland. In May 2013, Daniels received a master’s degree from Appalachian State University. She began counseling students at Discovery High School in Newton later that year.

North Carolina criminal records show Odom has been arrested numerous times, including on kidnapping, burglary and rape charges.

But he does not appear to have served time in prison, records show, and the most serious charges against him were dismissed.

In 2010, he was arrested in Mecklenburg County and charged with robbery with a dangerous weapon, first-degree rape, assault by strangulation, burglary and kidnapping. The charges were dismissed several months after his arrest.

In 2012, he was again arrested in Mecklenburg and charged with robbery, assault by strangulation and second-degree rape. The charges were dismissed two months after his arrest.

It wasn’t clear Saturday why those cases were dismissed. Detailed Mecklenburg court records are not available on weekends, when the courthouse is closed.

Odom’s most recent arrest appears to have been on Feb. 26. The arrest record shows that at the time he had a Newton address, at an apartment on South Bost Avenue, 1.5 miles from Daniels’ apartment complex.

Odom was charged with reckless driving to endanger. In April, he was found responsible, but the charge was reduced to improper equipment-speedometer. Odom was fined $313 and then fined $50 more when he failed to pay within 20 days, records show.

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