Odom, Gray murder trial delayed

By Ed Brock

The family of Buford Evans will have to wait a little longer for the trial of two men accused of killing the Hampton man almost two years ago.

Eugene Evans, the victim's father, came to Clayton County from his home in Tifton for Monday's scheduled trial of James Stewart Odom, 44, of College Park and Bobby Eugene Gray, 45, of Riverdale, but was once again disappointed when the trial was delayed.

"He was upset the last time I talked to him," said Joy Lobel of Augusta, Buford Evans' sister. "Even (Buford's) extended family is quite upset ? we feel like they're eventually going to drop it and let them go."

The trial was delayed because prosecutors decided to rewrite an indictment against the two in order to change the wording. Clayton County Assistant District Attorney Jack Jennings said that meant Odom and Gray had to be re-arraigned and informed of the new indictment five days before the arraignment.

That arraignment is scheduled for Friday and the trial should begin Sept. 8 for Odom.

Buford Evans was brutally beaten and stabbed to death in his English Road house in November 2001.

Odom was one of several people 54-year-old Evans tried to help, but the relationship between the two went bad and Lobel said Odom had threatened her brother.

"Odom was the one Buford was so fearful of," Lobel said.

In fact, Lobel said, Evans was so worried that he bought a gun. A 26-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force, Buford Evans was forced to walk with a cane after suffering two light strokes and a heart attack.

But Odom's attorney, Steve Frey, said his client is willing to testify that he saw Gray stab Evans to death and that he has been "up front" about being at the scene at the time.

"However, we did not commit the murder," Frey said. "My client is disappointed that we were not able to go to trial today but he understands what's going on and we're looking forward to having our day in court on Sept. 8."

Jennings also moved that Gray and Odom be tried separately to protect their constitutional rights.

Previously police investigators have said both men claim the other killed Evans.