Chilling footage captured the moment a Florida man calmly admitted to beating his fiancée to death to avoid marrying her.
Jerry Geisler Odum, 64, was sentenced to life in prison in 2021 for the August 2020 murder of his fiancée, Vickie Edge, 59, of Okaloosa County, Florida, two months before they were supposed to get married.
He struck Ms Edge, a massage parlour owner, in the head multiple times with a baseball bat and then strangled her.
Disturbing footage of the police interrogation, obtained by Law&Crime, shows an emotionless Mr Odum admitting that he murdered his fiancée because he could not afford their wedding.
“I had no way to get out of it,” Mr Odum says in the footage. “I didn’t know what else to do.”
The pair had met on a dating app and had been together for three months before Ms Edge was killed. During that time, Mr Odum led Ms Edge to believe that he was wealthy and planned to buy her a home and boats, however he did not have the means to follow through on his promises.
“She was getting ready to leave. I guess this all started a long time ago. I got divorced about a year ago,” he told detectives.
“I guess basically I was going broke you know, so OK, and we started dating each other at the beginning of May, and you know, she started talking about getting married.
“One thing led to another, and she was talking about wanting to get a house, and I was just agreeing to it even though I didn’t have the money to do it realistically.
“I guess I didn’t know how to get out of it, and then that’s what precipitated what happened yesterday.”
He then admitted to the detectives that he had killed his fiancée.
“She was getting ready to leave, and I told her that I had another surprise for her and she put this blanket over her head,” Odum admitted.
“I had a baseball bat and I hit her with it a couple of times. She said ‘why are you doing this?’”
He said Ms Edge then started to scream. “I put a chokehold on her until she went to the ground and I choked her after that,” he said.
“I guess it was all precipitated with all this. I didn’t have the money to pay for it.”
According to court documents, Mr Odum told investigators that he gave Ms Edge a $15,000 cheque to plan their wedding shortly before the attack, despite not having the money in his bank account.
“I knew, basically, I couldn’t afford it,” he said. “I was just kind of going along with a ride I thought maybe it would end beforehand, but I just kept getting deeper and deeper into the relationship and I didn’t know how to get out of it.”
Asked if he thought about killing his fiancée before, he admitted: “I thought maybe this might be an end result, you know because I mean I went down and bought the baseball bat from Walmart.”
After killing her, he removed the registration plates from her car and drove around for hours before settling down in a hotel 30 miles away.
“I couldn’t bring myself to stay there with a body,” he said.
Following Mr Odum’s arrest, police took hundreds of photographs of the crime scene and recovered surveillance footage of the 64-year-old buying the baseball bat.
Police also found a birthday card Ms Edge gave to Mr Odum which read: “I’m so thankful God put us together looking forward to many more together.”
Investigators also took photos of guns owned by Mr Odum, who told detectives he could have used them but “didn’t want to go that route.”
Neighbours of the couple claimed the pair seemed excited for their wedding, which was planned for 24 October.
However, Ms Edge’s brother said he saw red flags in her relationship with Mr Odum.
“They started talking about buying a house, and a wedding,” he told WEAR-TV.
“I thought it was going to be the first of the year, but they were talking about maybe moving it up to October and I was like ‘whoa, whoa, slow down,’ you know?”.
“I had to remind her it takes a year to know somebody before their true colors come out.”