‘He’s in a better place’: Jonesborough parents remember son killed in Baton Rouge

JONESBOROUGH, TN (WJHL) – The parents of a Jonesborough truck driver who police said was murdered on Tuesday shared the legacy their son, 49-year-old Keith Odom, left behind.

David Brown, one of the owners of the trucking company where Odom worked, said Odom left the Tri-Cities Sunday to drop off his first load in Houston, Texas.

Odom then traveled to Baton Rouge, LA. Investigators said while he was repairing his 18-wheeler Tuesday morning, he was robbed and then shot.

Odom was transported to a local hospital where he then died from his injuries.

Landry Carter, age 18 of Baton Rouge, is in custody on charges of 1st-degree murder and armed robbery. He is accused of shooting Odom after robbing him of his personal belongings on Florida Boulevard.

Carter is also being charged three counts of armed robbery. He is accused of robbing a Family Dollar store on June 11. and a Dollar General store on June 14 and July 3.

“Mom, I’m going to Texas. I’ll be back Tuesday that’s what he told me this past Sunday but he didn’t make it,” Keith Odom’s mother, Paulette Odom said.

That’s the last time Paulette Odom saw her son Keith. Paulette and Kenneth’s only child who moved back in with them a few years ago to help take care of them.

“It’s been a special time. It’s been great having him come back here, coming and going just like he always did,” Paulette said.

It’s a job they said Keith wanted since he was a little boy.

“Every time I’d get in front of a big rig they’d be out there jerking that arm and I guess 8 out of 10 of the truckers would give two or three big honks and from that point on him always, I am going to drive me a truck,” Kenneth Odom said.

The Odom’s said he was on his last road trip before he had plans to move into a dispatch role at Travis Brown Trucking in Jonesborough.

They said they’re still in shock over what happened.

“He gave him his phone, his wallet but they still shot him,” Paulette Odom said.

As for the accused, 18-year-old Landry Carter: “We can get at peace with ourselves and we can get at peace with what happened but to forgive him for what he was done, no, that is beyond me,” Kenneth Odom said.

The Odom’s are hoping for justice.

“I’m relieved and I hope if he’s convicted it’ll help other people from going through what we’re going through. It’s not going to help Keith or help us in our grief, maybe it’ll help another parent,” The Odom’s said.

They’re holding onto photos, hats, awards and Keith’s toy truck collection. Paulette said they’re looking to give the truck collection to a family friend who looks up to Keith and she knows Keith is now in a better place.

“I want him to know that we love him, never forget him, he’s going to be a part of my life till the day I die. he’s going to leave a hole in my heart but I know that he’s better off,” the Odom’s said and they remember him as a kind, loving and generous person who always had a smile on his face.

One of the owners where Odom worked is bringing his truck back from Louisiana for his family to have. The Odoms tell us his truck will be a part of his funeral services.

Copyright 2017 WJHL. All rights reserved.

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