By GREG JORDAN
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
A suspect in the murder of a Bluefield man said Tuesday that if West Virginia had a death penalty, he would deserve it.
Bluefield police and EMS personnel were dispatched to 201 Burton Street at 11:40 p.m. Monday after one of the home’s residents, Monika Watkins, called for an ambulance.
“Ms. Watkins called EMS and her sister,” said Detective B.L. Hamm of the Bluefield Police Department.
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. Hamm said later in his report that she had suffered other significant injuries during the attack.
The injured woman told officers on the scene that 54-year-old Don Adams of Bluefield 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 resided at 320 Marshall Street, which is directly across the street from the victims’ home, Hamm said in his report.
Bluefield police found and arrested Adams at approximately 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 immediately 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 had borrowed money from them on several occasions. Adams added that he had 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.
Friends and relatives told police during the intial investigation that Adams often visited the Watkins’ home. One neighbor said that Monika Watkins had stated that Adams owed her money.
Monika Watkins underwent surgery Monday morning and was still in critical care, Hamm said later.
“They’re taking it hour by hour,” he said that afternoon.
A BOLO (be on the lookout) notification was sent to all local law enforcement agencies for Adams. Officer Rex Bradshaw of the Bluefield, Va., Police Department was familiar with Adams and knew that he worked at P.W.’s Bistro in Bluefield, Va. The restaurant’s manager was able to provide Adams’ current address on College Avenue, Hamm said in his report.
Adams was found and arrested at approximately 5 a.m. on Bluefield Avenue, Wilson said.
Police tracked Adams through the GPS (global positioning system) on his cell phone. An anonymous tip indicated that he was walking on Third Street, Hamm said.
“Patrol units located him and after a short foot pursuit, he was taken into custody on Bluefield Avenue. It was right across the street from JanPak,” Hamm said.
“He was fine. He was real coherent and didn’t give us any issues, any problem,” Hamm said.
Besides Adams’ confession, investigators have evidence linking him to the crime, Hamm said.
Adams helped police find the weapon, a .38 semi-automatic pistol, in a wooded stretch of property between Grant’s Supermarket and the Bluefield Fire Department on Bluefield Avenue, Hamm stated.
“He’s been in prison before,” Hamm said of Adams’ criminal record. “Actually, he got out in ‘07. He spent 10 years for aggravated robbery and wanton endangerment. He has a history of violence.”
Police expected to transport Adams to the Southern Regional Jail in Beaver, Hamm said. A circuit court judge must set bond in felony cases involving murder. A hearing has been scheduled for Oct. 9 before Judge William Sadler. Additional charges are pending.�