It’s a case that could have remained cold and unsolved, but now it appears that one murder victim’s family may finally be seeing justice. The Broward County Sheriff said a man walked into a police station 1,500 miles away to confess to a murder committed in 2002.
According to a press release, authorities from three separate agencies vetted the murder confession of 38-year-old Joshua Odom. On August 11, Odom entered a police station in Des Moines, Iowa, and confessed to killing 70-year-old Richard Busey. Busey was found beaten to death inside his apartment 14 years ago. Odom reportedly sat down for a lengthy confession and confided what he knew to Detective Brad Younglut.
The Des Moines Register reports that Odom claimed that God wanted him to make the confession. He explained that he’d been a drifter, and he’d gone to Busey’s apartment to drink and have sex. His reported motive was to get money to buy crack. Odom said he allegedly hit Busey with a vase or a pot after the victim was choked. Although he didn’t remember exactly where the murder occurred, Odom said he remembered being arrested the very next day for stealing a case of beer in the area. He also said he could remember what the apartment complex looked like.
Youngblut didn’t take the confession lightly. In fact, the release said he didn’t hesitate to send a bulletin to law enforcement agencies in south Florida. Although “dozens” of emails and bulletins were sent to area detectives, one investigator realized the information he was reading was spot-on.
According to the press release, Detective David Turner of Wilton Manors recognized the “needle in the haystack.” The release said Turner remembered Busey’s murder, and realized the details were most likely not made up. One report said the case hadn’t seen a viable lead in more than a decade. In 2002 a tipster said the suspect’s name was “Josh” and he had a large tattoo on his chest. That lead at the time did not go anywhere. All these years later, authorities can confirm Odom does have a tattoo on his chest.
John Curico, a homicide detective with Broward County, spoke out to the Des Moines Register and said, “Give credit to God, because that’s why (Odom said) he wanted to come in and confess.” He added, “A lot of people come in and confess to a lot of things. It’s not typical that an arrest and a record puts them in the right place at a certain time.”
Fingerprints at the scene of the crime match up positively to Odom, the report adds. As for other DNA, it’s currently being tested. Within a couple of weeks, on August 25, Odom was in handcuffs. He was charged with first-degree murder and theft on September 7. It’s not clear if he’s retained an attorney.
Main photo: Joshua Odom (left) and Richard Busey (right) [Broward Sheriff’s Office]