The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

October 3, 2012

Murder suspect confesses to reporters

Donald Adams says he deserves death penalty

By Greg Jordan
CNHI News Service

BLUEFIELD, W. Va. — A suspect in the murder of a Bluefield man said Tuesday that if West Virginia had a death penalty, he would deserve it.

Donald Adams, 54, confessed his guilt just hours after his arrest, in a statement to reporters following a detainment hearing. The confession was caught on video camera.

Bluefield police and EMS personnel were dispatched to a home in Bluefield, W. Va., late Monday night after one of the home’s residents, Monika Watkins, called for an ambulance.

Her husband, John Watkins, had been shot and killed at his home, Bluefield Police Chief Joe Wilson said. Monika Watkins, who was also shot, is being treated at a Roanoke Hospital. Detective B.L. Hamm of the Bluefield Police Department said later in his report that she had suffered other significant injuries during the attack.

The injured woman told officers on the scene that Adams had shot her and her husband. She also informed them that he had stolen approximately $200 in cash and her bankbook. A check of Adams’ criminal record showed that he had lived directly across the street from the victims’ home, Hamm said in his report.

Bluefield police found and arrested Adams at around 5 a.m. Tuesday morning. After being advised of his rights, he was questioned and quickly confessed to the crime.

Wearing handcuffs and shackles, Adams was later brought before Magistrate Susan Honaker in Bluefield for a detainment hearing. She told him that he was facing a charge of first-degree murder, which carries a possible penalty of life in prison. After signing and initialing forms detailing whether he wanted to hire an attorney or have the court appoint one for him, Adams calmly told the magistrate that he intended to plead guilty.

"I'm just going to plead guilty," Adams said. "I don’t need no lawyer, but you said I had to have one." He added that he had planned to turn himself in Tuesday.

As Adams was being led away, he stopped to speak with the Bluefield Daily Telegraph and other media and admitted to killing John Watkins and injuring Monika Watkins. He stated that he had lived beside the couple for two years and borrowed money from them on several occasions. Adams added that he intended to rob them Monday to get money for more drugs.

"Yes, I was on drugs," Adams said of the Monday night attack. "That’s why I'm guilty as charged."

Adams, who said he was addicted to crack cocaine, added he was high on the drug during the robbery.

"That was no excuse. That’s a poor excuse." He had advice for people who are now addicted to drugs and for young people who might consider using them. He fingered the restraints and chains he was wearing. "Don't follow in my footsteps."

Adams said he hoped the victims’ families could forgive him.

"I'd say if West Virginia had a death penalty, I would probably deserve it,"  Adams said.

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Details for this story were provided by the Bluefield, W. Va., Daily Telegraph