Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

October 3, 2012

Community mourns, prays following brutal crime

‘She’s been a lot of encouragement to other people, and I’m just praying that she will pull through this. It’s awful.’

BLUEFIELD — Friends and neighbors were mourning the loss of one friend and praying for another Tuesday morning after learning of a brutal robbery and murder in their community.

Bluefield Police found John Watkins of 201 Burton Street dead in his home from an apparent gunshot wound after his wife, Monika Watkins, called for an ambulance, said Detective B.L. Hamm of the Bluefield Police Department.

Monika Watkins had also suffered a gunshot wound and other significant injuries, according to the police report. She was responsive and able to tell officers that she had been shot by Donald Adams, 54, of Bluefield. Adams was later arrested and told authorities that he planned to plead guilty to first-degree murder.

Patricia Rice, 60, of Wayne Street in Bluefield, was talking to the Watkins’ neighbors,  Maggie and Jack Hurd, about caring for Monika Watkins’ cats while she was away. They mourned the loss of John Watkins and asked that people pray for Monika.

“We’re close, real close,” Rice said, adding she usually chatted with her friend on Facebook during the evening, but didn’t Monday night because she was taking care of a baby. Rice learned of the murder and robbery Tuesday.

Monika Watkins plays the piano for the Mount Zion Baptist Church in Bluefield, Va., and John Watkins sang in the church choir, Rice said.

“He sang in the choir right behind me every Sunday,” she said gently. The couple had just returned from the funeral of John Watkins’ brother.

Monika Watkins also plays the piano for the Wade Center in Bluefield and various other churches, and Rice described them as helpful people. Monika is good about helping people who are battling cancer.

“She’s been a lot of encouragement to other people, and I’m just praying that she will pull through this. It’s awful,”  Rice said.

John Watkins, a veteran of the United States Army, was among the local people featured in the Daily Telegraph’s regular “Hometown Hero” features. Staff Sgt. John Watkins enlisted in September 1948 and served until June 1955. He was stationed in Germany and Japan, and was the recipient of the Occupation Medal.

Rice said she had never met the Adams, the man who admitted to killing John and wounding Monika.

“I don’t even have a picture of him in my mind,” Rice said.

Maggie and Jack Hurd were sitting on their porch and talking with Rice about caring for Monika Watkins’ cats. The Watkins welcomed the Hurds to the neighborhood when they arrived from Chicago three months ago.

“They were the first ones who welcomed us,” Maggie said. “They’re good, God-fearing folks. She invited me to church.”

“They were very nice people, very nice people,” Jack emphasized.

“She still is,” Maggie said. “He’s gone to the Lord now.”

Adams showed the Hurd family the house they are currently living in across the street from the Watkins’ home, Jack Hurd said.

“He seemed like a gentle man, very calm and collected,” he recalled. “He didn’t talk foul.” Later, he heard that Adams was having problems with drug addiction.

“That’s one of the things drugs do — turn you into the devil himself,” Jack Hurd added.

Maggie Hurd asked for the community to think about the Watkins and their families.

“Any prayers for Mrs. Watkins and her family, and any prayers for John and his family would be greatly appreciated,” she concluded.쇓

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