Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

October 4, 2012

Adams commits suicide

BILL ARCHER
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BLUEFIELD — A murder suspect who was set to be transported to Southern Regional Jail in Beaver later in the day, apparently committed suicide Wednesday afternoon by hanging himself with his own shoestrings while in custody at Bluefield city jail, state police said.

Don Adams, 54, of Bluefield was arrested early Tuesday morning on Bluefield Avenue after a brief foot pursuit, according to a press release issued by Detective B.L. Hamm of the Bluefield Police Department. Hamm stated that during a taped interview following his arrest, Adams admitted that he shot John and Monika Watkins of Burton Street in Bluefield. John Watkins, 79, died at the scene. Monika Watkins was taken to Bluefield Regional Medical Center, and was later transferred to a hospital in Roanoke, Va.

“Mrs. Watkins is no longer on life support,” Lt. D.W. Dillow of the Bluefield Police Department said. “Hopefully, she’ll make it.”

An officer with the Bluefield Police Department found Adams unresponsive in his isolated cell at about 2:30 p.m., Wednesday according to Cpl. A.P. Christian of the Princeton Detachment, West Virginia State Police. “The officer couldn’t detect any breathing. EMS personnel were called in immediately. They could find no vital signs on Mr. Adams.”

Christian said that Adams had not given any indication that he intended to harm himself. “I haven’t heard from anyone that he might have been considering this,” Christian said. “He was cooperative, and he was in an isolated cell.” Christian later speculated that if a person is determined to take their own life, there is little that can be done to stop them.

Christian said that his investigation is “still in preliminary stages.” He said that he still has several interviews to conduct, but he said that everyone he has spoken to so far, did not consider him to be a suicide risk. “No forewarning,” he said.

Adams’ body was taken from Bluefield to the State Medical Examiner’s office in South Charleston. He said that in addition to his investigation, he assumed that the Bluefield Police Department would conduct their own investigation. “I’m not up on the policies and procedures of the Bluefield Police Department,” Christian said.

Bluefield Police Chief J.W. “Joe” Wilson referred all questions concerning the matter to Christian. Mercer County Prosecuting Attorney Scott Ash was also called to the scene, but had left prior to the time when Adams’ remains were removed.

Along with confessing to Hamm, Adams told reporters covering his initial appearance Tuesday in Mercer County magistrate court that he wanted to plead guilty to the charges.

“I’d say if West Virginia had a death penalty, I would probably deserve it,” Adams told Bluefield Daily Telegraph reporter Greg Jordan. He also the media that he hoped the victims’ families could forgive him.

– Contact Bill Archer at barcher@bdtonline.com