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Odom Is Released; Psychiatrist Says He Poses No Risk

December 18, 1985|RAY PEREZ | Times Staff Writer

A judge on Tuesday released former major league pitcher John (Blue Moon) Odom from Orange County Jail, citing a psychiatric evaluation that concluded Odom was not dangerous.

Odom, 40, had been in jail since early last Wednesday after he had held his wife hostage at gunpoint for an hour and then staved off a police SWAT team for six more hours at his Fountain Valley apartment. He claimed he was despondent over losing his job at Xerox six months ago and his inability to find work since that time.

Judge Michael Beecher of the West Municipal Court in Westminster ordered Odom to return today for arraignment on five misdemeanor assault charges stemming from the incident. A pretrial hearing has been tentatively set for Jan. 16.

Over the weekend, Odom had been evaluated by Sea Wright Anderson, a Santa Ana psychiatrist. Beecher met privately in his chambers with Odom's wife and Assistant Dist. Atty. Arnie Westra before delivering his decision.

"He (Anderson) feels it would be safe to release you. And your wife wants you home, so I don't see any problem," the judge told Odom.

The psychiatric evaluation recommended counseling for the former Oakland A's player who pitched in three World Series during the 1972-74 period.

Odom was released from jail at 9 p.m. Tuesday and said he was happy to be going home.

"I feel better than I have in a long time. I'm just glad it's over. I'm ready to do whatever it takes to get even better. But right now, I feel great," Odom said.

Gayle Odom said she and her husband will seek counseling and employment once they return from Odom's hometown in Macon, Ga., where they plan to spend the Christmas holidays.

'Totally Ecstatic'

"I am totally ecstatic," she said. "I am so happy just to have him home with me again. And John will get the help he needs when we get back from Georgia."

Since his arrest, Gayle Odom said, she has received numerous offers of help. Former major league pitchers Dock Ellis and Jim (Mudcat) Grant, who work in counseling centers in Los Angeles, have offered aid.

Several companies have expressed an interest in talking to Odom, his wife said, and Jack Baldwin, general manager of Pathfinder Computer in Costa Mesa, said he plans to contact Odom's lawyer to convey a job offer.

"Absolutely, we're having trouble finding good people," Baldwin said Tuesday.

Ron Renish, director of the Santa Ana-based Labor Assistance Program, also has offered counseling.

"Anybody that has a problem, we try to guide them into an area of (job) referral network," Renish said. "Whatever he needs, he's got it."

Help Available Here

Odom and his wife have thought of moving to the San Francisco Bay Area once his legal problems are settled, but Renish said Odom could find the proper help and employment in Orange County.

"They are very likable people, and I would like for them to stay in Orange County," Renish said.

According to Odom, who ended his major league career in 1976 after a decade of pitching, his emotional problems began last May 24 when he was placed on indefinite suspension from his job at a Xerox computer plant in Irvine, where he had worked for six years, for allegedly selling one gram of cocaine to another worker. Odom denies the charge, which is still pending.

The couple had been living on his $166-a-week unemployment compensation check and money that Gayle Odom received 18 months ago in a settlement of an automobile accident.

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