No witness has been more important to the prosecution's case against Curtis Flowers than Odell Hallmon. He testified in four trials that Flowers had confessed to him while the two men were in prison together. Hallmon has an astonishingly long criminal history that includes repeated charges for drug dealing, assault, and robbery. So how reliable is his testimony and did he receive anything in exchange for it? In this episode, we investigate the veracity of the prosecution's star witness.
May 22, 2018
Odell "Cookie" Hallmon Jr. is the prosecution's key witness in the murder case against Curtis Flowers. Hallmon has testified that Flowers confessed to him — while both men were in prison — that Flowers killed four people at Tardy Furniture in 1996.
Hallmon is also a career criminal. His run-ins with law enforcement began at age 12 and continued with little interruption for most of the next 30 years. Hardly a month went by in which Hallmon didn't have some interaction with law enforcement, including robbery, aggravated assault, selling drugs and attempting to run over a sheriff's deputy.
APM Reports journalists pieced together a detailed account of Hallmon's criminal history, compiling court, police and prison records from departments spread across seven counties in rural Mississippi. The resulting document runs more than 50 pages and 20,000 words. The timeline and information below has been excerpted from that research.
What's clear is that Hallmon became an increasingly violent person who, despite several stints in prison, either got away with his crimes or got off easy. He cut generous deals with prosecutors, was paroled early despite a horrendous prison record and — after giving a statement against Flowers — avoided any punishment in seven felony cases. He was a repeat offender who kept finding his way back to the streets, month after month and year after year. Until, eventually, it ended in tragedy.
Johnny Vince Evans