Odom Admits Buying Cocaine but Testifies He Didn't Sell Drug

Times Staff Writer

John (Blue Moon) Odom testified Monday that he bought cocaine twice from a co-worker who has accused the former major league pitcher of selling the drug at an Irvine computer plant where they worked.

Odom, 41, emphatically denied selling cocaine to Willie Earl Harris but testified that Harris sold him small amounts of the drug twice in the weeks before Odom's May 24, 1985, arrest by Irvine police.

"I never sold cocaine, period ," said the former ballplayer, who pitched in World Series games for the Oakland A's three years in the early 1970s.

Odom is being tried in Orange County Superior Court on two felony charges of selling $100 worth of cocaine to Harris in 1985 on May 17 and on May 24 in the parking lot of the now defunct Xerox plant in Irvine. An Irvine undercover narcotics detective testified last week that he observed Harris engaging in what appeared to be drug transactions on those two dates.

Harris has testified that he purchased the cocaine from Odom.

Odom flatly denied that Monday. When he was observed May 17, Odom said, he and Harris were only talking about $100 Harris owed him. He said Harris repaid him the loan May 24, the day on which police said the second drug transaction occurred.

On questioning by Deputy Dist. Atty. Gregg L. Prickett, Odom admitted he had used cocaine before his arrest but again denied that he had ever sold cocaine.

Later, defense attorney Stephan A. DeSales asked Odom who had supplied him with cocaine.

"You really want me to answer that . . . for the court?" Odom asked. "He's not here, but it was Willie Harris."

Odom said he once gave $50 to Harris in a cocaine transaction at the plant and later bought another quantity of the drug for $100 at a Newport Beach cafe frequented by Xerox employees.

Earlier, a former narcotics investigator testified that lists found on Odom at the time of his arrest were not records of drug transactions--or "pay-owe sheets," as the prosecution has alleged.

John W. Sissov said small street drug dealers do not keep records.

"It's strictly a cash-and-carry operation," he said. "I don't consider this a 'pay-owe sheet.' "

Odom testified that the lists were records of cosmetics sales he and his wife made to Xerox employees. He said the numbers on the lists represented bonus points customers were awarded for the purchases.

Odom's wife, Gayle, testified that the lists were records of a system she devised to award the bonus points to her customers and that her husband simply delivered the products and collected the money from his fellow employees.

DeSales said he would conclude his defense before the four-man, eight-woman jury today.

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