South Dakota mother forgives dead son after brutal beating

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A mother is grieving the death of her son, who also happens to be the man accused of attacking her.

For the first time, Kay Odle is talking about what happened the day her son, Jesse Odle, nearly beat her to death on New Year’s Day.

Authorities say Jesse died in his jail cell Wednesday morning. 

The Minnehaha County Jail warden says staff was monitoring Jesse via video. Around 6:45 a.m., employees noticed he was unresponsive. Staff tried to revive him but were not successful. Right now authorities say his death appears to be a medical issue and do not think foul play was involved.

This is a very complicated ordeal for Kay or anyone to process. She is still grieving the loss of her husband, who died on Thanksgiving. Jesse was set to appear in court on Wednesday to face a judge for what he allegedly did. He faced 14 charges for beating his mother, including attempted murder. Kay just got home from the hospital on Wednesday.

Darkness has surrounded her, but Kay is ready to talk about it. 

“I believe in bringing things into the light of day,” Kay said. 

The mother of two is healing from a broken nose, severe bruising, swelling, and a brain bleed.

“He was pounding my head into the base of the kitchen table,” Kay said.

Kay remembers everything about the day her son Jesse walked into her home, and how she had to fight for her life.

“I didn’t black out. I almost did a few times, I just prayed and prayed that I wouldn’t because I knew if I did I’d be dead,” Kay said.

Faith is helping Kay cope with her near death experience, and helping her forgive her son. 

“There were points I was looking evil in the face and thought this is how I’m going to die,” Kay said.

That evil, she says, was addiction. Her 40-year-old son started using drugs when he was 14, and Kay’s daughter believes Jesse had a mix of meth and bath salts in his system the day he turned violent. Kay says a minister friend visited him in jail before he died, and told her Jesse was praying. 

“And he had asked Jesus into his heart and given his life to Christ. Thank you God. So, I knew Jesse was safe,” Kay said. 

By now, many people have seen Jesse’s mugshot. The pictures of him surrounding her are how she’ll choose to remember her son. 

“This was a brief moment in time. I remember the Jesse who was funny and smart and kind,” Kay said.

Rather than live in darkness, Kay Odle says she’s going to let the light in. 

“We make our own choices of which doors we’re going to open. Are we going to open the doors to hatred, the door to violence, the door to drugs? Or are we going to open the doors to love, to peace, to forgiveness?” Kay said. 

There is a GoFundMe account set up to help Kay and her family with medical expenses. Here are links for resources for addiction and survivors of domestic violence.

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