Originally created 04/20/06

Toothpaste-packing bandit gets life term



Lewis Odum left a halfway house in the middle of the night last summer to rob an Augusta convenience store with a box of toothpaste wrapped in a rag.

If that was his first mistake the night of July 11, the next was getting caught a few blocks away with the box of Crest and black rag in his back pocket, and the convenience store loot in a front pocket of his jean shorts.

The third was probably his question to Richmond County sheriff's Investigator Tim Owen: "Why am I charged with armed robbery? I didn't have a gun."

It took a Richmond County Superior Court less than an hour to convict Mr. Odum, 32, of armed robbery, escape and giving a false name in the holdup of the Pump 'N Shop on Peach Orchard Road.

The $70 robbery cost Mr. Odum the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole. He had rejected a plea negotiation that could have meant freedom in 10 years.

The punishment was so tough because of Mr. Odum's lengthy criminal record.

Assistant District Attorney Parks White introduced a partial list of Mr. Odum's prior felony convictions for burglary and theft in Richmond, Burke and McDuffie counties.

A co-defendant, Thomas L. Lawrence, accused of being the getaway driver, has pleaded not guilty. His case is pending.

Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226 or sandy.hodson@augustachronicle.com.



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