1987 Watertown High graduate allegedly murdered by nephew in North Carolina | Crime & Law | #College. | #Students

WATERTOWN — Keri A. Locklear never wanted to be the matriarch of her family — the one who shakes off tears during a tragedy — but when she got a call two weeks ago in her Evans Mills home that her sister had been shot to death and that her son was accused of pulling the trigger, she was left with no choice.

“It’s almost like I’ve had to coat my entire heart with a bottle of Icy Hot,” she said. “There’s just no other way for me to be able to grasp what has truly happened, and I hate to make it about myself — because it’s not about me — but my God, I just don’t know how much more a human being can take.”

Mrs. Locklear and her family, the Odetts, all of whom were born and raised in Watertown, are trying to manage their grief after a string of recent tragedies.

Shana L. Williams, a 1987 graduate of Watertown High School, died of a gunshot wound in her North Carolina home on the morning of Feb. 26. She was 51. The circumstances of her death have left a family with a dynamic in which they miss one of their brightest and kindest members, but also support and have no resentment toward the relative who allegedly shot her.

It was about 9 a.m. on Feb. 26 when the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office in North Carolina received a call for a shooting investigation. Deputies arrived on scene and found Mrs. Williams in her home with an apparent gunshot wound. She was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the sheriff’s office.

Dylan J. Odett photographed Feb. 25, one day before he allegedly shot his aunt. Provided photo

Witnesses placed her nephew, Dylan J. Odett, 29, at the scene. He would be located the same day about 30 miles away at a shop in Raleigh, N.C. He was taken back to Johnston County and charged with one count of murder. Investigators believe a possible mental health issue played a role in the shooting.

Dylan Odett remains in custody, according to Mrs. Locklear, his mother, and it appears he’s staying in a medical facility.

Mrs. Locklear, who goes by Kiki, said she was at home in Evans Mills when she got a call shortly after 9 a.m. from a relative saying her sister had been shot. She said she had been texting with her sister until 4:30 a.m. that same morning. They were always talking.

They spent every morning on FaceTime — Mrs. Williams in North Carolina and Mrs. Locklear in Evans Mills — to talk about their grandchildren and just chit chat. Their conversations were always full of giggling and laughing.

Mrs. Locklear said there is some context, and more to the situation, than simply a murder. This information could all come out at trial, which is why Mrs. Locklear doesn’t want to talk too much about the incident.

She just wants to make it clear that her son suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder after having served in the U.S. Navy for four years. He was extremely close with his aunt, she said, even to the point where Mrs. Williams’ last words to her sister were telling her she would keep her son safe.

“I will 100 percent support my son until my last breath,” Mrs. Locklear said. “He is still unaware of any crime being committed. He does not know anything right now.”

Mrs. Williams moved to North Carolina with her two children after having spent much of her early adult life in Watertown. She graduated high school in 1987, alongside Tina R. Hosmer Smith, whose 1990 murder in Watertown remains unsolved.

Mrs. Locklear also moved to North Carolina from Watertown when Dylan was about 13 years old. They were all extremely close. They were the type of family that would rather be with each other than hang out with a group of friends. They kept their group small and loyal, just like it still is now. There’s less drama that way, Mrs. Locklear said.

Mrs. Locklear’s son graduated high school with honors and then went to college, where he was the recipient of a president’s award for academic excellence. He went on to become an IT specialist in the Navy, serving on the USS America. She said he was medically discharged from the Navy and then entered the private sector.

She moved back to the north country a few years ago to help care for her mother and father as their health declined. Her son stayed in North Carolina and would often visit Mrs. Williams, as they were always very close, Mrs. Locklear said.

“I don’t want anybody to think my son is a monster, because I couldn’t think of a sweeter human being,” Mrs. Locklear said. “He was the kind of a guy who would see a bee in the crevice of your window sill and he would take it outside and release it. That’s the kind of human being Dylan is.”

The last year has been a string of devastating events for Mrs. Locklear and her family. Her dad, Michael, died unexpectedly in May and then her son was charged with murdering her sister.

The family is supporting Dylan as they believe the alleged crime is something their true son and brother would never do. It wasn’t the Dylan they know, and they’re going to fight for that.

Mrs. Locklear’s mother, Sue Odett, was simply crushed when her first-born daughter, Mrs. Williams, died. She was further crushed when her first-born grandson, Dylan, was charged with being responsible.

On Saturday, Mrs. Odett died unexpectedly of natural causes at the age of 70 — eight days after her daughter was killed.

“I truly believe that my mother died from a broken heart,” Mrs. Locklear said.


Shana L. Williams and Keri A. “Kiki” Locklear pose for a photo together. Provided photo

In fewer than three weeks, two of the closest people to Mrs. Locklear have died.

“I haven’t been able to mourn for my mother,” she said. “I’ve almost had to put my emotions for her on hold. It’s terrible to have to do that.”

She feels she’s still mourning her sister and now has to figure out mourning her mother.

“She was like a morning cup of coffee,” she said. “My mother was my morning cup of coffee. Your day can’t start without it.”

Mrs. Locklear said people in her life have considered her the tough one in the family, but she doesn’t want to be. She’s held the role well, holding back tears through this, but once they come, they don’t stop. They might come on when she thinks about the sister vacation she had plan with Mrs. Williams.

They were supposed to visit Myrtle Beach at the end of the month. They were supposed to be kicking their sandals off, walking through the sand and giggling at each other like they normally would.

“It’s been horrific, to be honest,” she said. “That’s the only way to describe it.”

Mrs. Locklear is in North Carolina now, where she spent 24 hours alone in a hotel room thinking about her mother and sister. She listened to some of their favorite songs, lit her sister’s favorite candle, drank champagne and went through a few boxes of tissues. She felt their presence in that room, she said.

“There are certain tidbits that I feel are a gift from heaven, and I’m kind of comforted with that,” Mrs. Locklear said. “I’m very much comforted with the fact that I know that my mother, my father and my sister are all together in heaven. That gives me great peace.”

When everything sets in, when all the shock burns off, Mrs. Locklear is going to have a support system, starting with her husband, Jeffrey Locklear.

“I have the most amazing, supportive and loving spouse,” she said. “He is just kind of the ‘whatever you need, honey’ husband. So when I do release the Niagara Falls, he’s going to be right there with the biggest towel to catch every tear.”

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