Sunday, September 6, 2009

Man sentenced to 50 years for shooting wife, daughter

Lauderdale County Circuit Court Judge Mike Jones sentenced Willie Dwight Adams to 50 years for the attempted murder of his wife and daughter. The sentences, 30 years for attempted murder for the attack on his wife, Sherry Adams, and 20 years for the 1st degree domestic violence attack on Lucinda Adams, will be served consecutively. A jury deliberated 50 minuted before finding Adams guilty on all charges Thursday, September 3.

The incidents occurred May 24, 2008, at the perpetrator's home. The then 50 year old Adams used a 9 mm handgun and a 12 gauge shotgun. Sherry was shot in the ankle with the shotgun and in her arms and legs with the handgun. Lucinda was shot twice in the leg with the shotgun when she tried to protect her mother.

At Thursday's sentencing hearing, Will Powell, chief assistant Lauderdale district attorney, asked Jones to impose a lengthy prison term.

"This man shot his daughter and tried to kill his wife. What the state would like to see happen is for him to receive the maximum sentence on the attempted murder charge and add 20 years to it for shooting his daughter," Powell said.

Adams could have been sentenced to life in prison for either conviction.

Defense attorney Marshall Gardner told Jones that Adams suffers from a variety of health problems and would likely die in prison if he were sentenced to anything more than the minimum sentence of 20 years. "Any significant sentence is likely to be the same as life without parole."

Margie Adams, Willie Adams' mother, asked for leniency, stating her son was upset be the pending divorce between himself and Sherry, while also suffering from bi-polar disorder. She also mentioned she trained her sons to go hunting, so "if he'd been aiming to kill her, she would be a dead woman. All of my sons are good at hitting what they shoot at."

Powell stated that the victims, pleased with the sentence, were "willing to allow him to plead guilty in exchange for a 40-year sentence," Powell said. "But he chose to go to trial, was convicted and received a 50-year sentence. They are satisfied with the outcome."

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