Odister pleads guilty; gets life in prison

According to a release by Northern Judicial Circuit District Attorney Parks White, one of the two suspects in the murder of Lavonia businessman Sam Harbin has pled guilty and has been sentenced.

Kristin M. Odister

In a case made by the Lavonia Police Department in conjunction with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Kristen Odister has avoided the death penalty by pleading guilty for her role in the home invasion and murder of Harbin.

The GBI and the Lavonia Police Department worked hand in hand to bring Odister to justice and evidenced the efficiency of cooperative police work.

Odister apologized for her actions and asked Harbin’s family for forgiveness.

In a negotiated plea agreement, Odister pleaded guilty to a charge of malice murder and was sentenced to life in prison by Judge Lauren Watson.

Odister waived any and all rights to appeal her conviction and sentence. She will not be eligible for parole consideration until 2046. Odister also received credit for the time she has already served.

White said this senseless crime shook the city of Lavonia because Harbin was a good, Christian man and loved by so many. Harbin ministered to inmates at the Franklin County jail and believed in redemption. He was both kind and generous.

According to authorities, Odister and her boyfriend, Rayfonda Craft, entered Harbin’s home on Gilbert Street in Lavonia, tied him up and then beat him to death after he repossessed a car Harbin had financed for Odister. The two were also accused of burglarizing the home and stealing the Cadillac.

Craft remains in custody awaiting trial for murder.