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Judge says statement admissible in slaying case

September 16, 2006|by MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.VA. - A man who is accused in the slaying of an Inwood, W.Va., woman in August 2005 gave a statement to police that is admissible as evidence in his Sept. 26 trial, Berkeley County Circuit Judge Christopher C. Wilkes ruled Friday.

Timothy Charles Odell, 26, was indicted in February by a grand jury on one count each of murder and conspiracy to commit murder after allegedly agreeing to kill Debbie K. Bivens, 46, at her Camelot subdivision home.

"I'm finding that the statement was voluntarily given ..." Wilkes said after reviewing a transcript of a digital video disc recording provided by Odell's court-appointed attorney, B. Craig Manford.

Former Berkeley County Sheriff's Department Capt. K.C. Bohrer testified Friday that Odell never asked for an attorney when the defendant was being questioned by him and Cpl. Brendan Hall, and maintained he did not offer him a deal in exchange for the statement.

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After the hearing, Odell was returned to Eastern Regional Jail, where he is being held without bond.

Police believe Odell agreed to kill Bivens for $5,000 offered by Benjamin Brookman of Salisbury, Md. Brookman committed suicide a week after Bivens' body was discovered.

The admissibility of a suicide note by Brookman that details the planned murder is expected to be decided at a second pretrial hearing Sept. 25 because a Salisbury police officer was unable to testify Friday, Berkeley County Prosecutor Pamela Games-Neely said.

Brookman had a personal and business relationship with Bivens, police have said.

Odell denies being the shooter in Bivens death. She was shot once in her upper left chest Aug. 21 while in her bedroom, police have said.

The suicide note began: "Yea, I was going to pay Timmy Odell to kill Debbie for $50,000. Gave him $8,000. Still owed him $42,000. He called me Wed. August 24, 2005, said Job was Done," according to court records.

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