'Whiz kid' remembered fondly by family

HOUSTON For the Lewis family, the death of their oldest son almost two years ago is still a fresh wound.

"I never dreamed of me having to bury my son. Never dreamed of it, you know," said the victim's father, Carl Lewis.

Carltrell Odom, 22, a reserve Precinct 6 Deputy Constable, was murdered while off duty. Two of the five charged have been sentenced, but the family has two more trials to endure.

"It's like it opens up old wounds when you have to go to court and look at all the graphic pictures," said Corliss Odom-Lewis, Carltrell's mother.

However, the pictures in their living room help them heal. His fifth grade picture says it all - 'whiz kid.'

"He always said he wanted to be a police officer and a doctor and I would ask him, 'How you going to do all that?' And he said, 'I can do both,'" said Odom-Lewis.

At the time of his death, he lived up to those words and more. He graduated from Alvin Community College with a Peace Officers license and he was just a few months from graduating from Texas Southern University in Pre-Dentistry. Odom was assistant manager at an HEB and he was a Sunday school teacher, a position that helped him make his first arrest as a reserve deputy.

"He told me that, 'Mom, the guy was bigger than dad!' I said, 'How did you make this arrest?' And he said, 'I started talking to them about the lord,'" said Odom-Lewis.

Unfortunately, the whiz kid's future is now a legacy. On November 30, 2007, while studying for a final exam, he needed a break.

"He went to the store. He loved his chocolate chip cookies," said Lewis.

On his way home, he and two friends were confronted by five armed men. A robbery followed, Odom resisted, ran away, and was shot to death.

"They took Carltrell's life three days before his birthday and five months before he was due to graduate from TSU as a doctor," said Odom-Lewis.

Two of five suspects have been sentenced. Cornelius Conway and Allen Nickerson, the shooter, received life without parole. However, the sentences have done little to remove the anger in the Odom's hearts.

"They got life in prison, yet their parents can see them. We have to go to the gravesite to see our son," said Lewis.

The capital murder trial for Christopher Crenshaw began Tuesday. Wallace Hightower will be retried in October and the family is still awaiting the trial of Damian Edwards.

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