A man who avoided a death-penalty trial by pleading guilty this week to fatally shooting four people in a South Linden basement apologized Thursday before he was sentenced to four consecutive terms of life in prison without parole.
"I don’t deserve to be forgiven, but I do pray God helps you all through your pain," Robert L. Adams Jr. told a courtroom crowded with the victims' familiesand friends.
"I apologize to the family and loved ones of the victims of my crimes. I sincerely apologize."
Adams, 29, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to four counts of aggravated murder, one count of attempted murder and five gun specifications for the execution-style shootings June 13, 2015. He reached a plea agreement with Franklin County prosecutors just as jury selection was beginning in his trial.
Common Pleas Judge David Young imposed the consecutive life sentences for the aggravated murders, plus 14 years for the attempted murder and gun specifications. The sentence was recommended by assistant prosecutors James Lowe and Elizabeth Geraghty and defense attorneys Kort Gatterdam and Dustin Blake as part of the agreement.
Michael Ballour, 41; Angela Harrison, 35; Daniel Sharp, 26; and Tyajah Nelson, 18, were killed and a teenage girl was wounded by Adams after the victims were herded into the basement of Ballour's house in the 1600 block of East Hudson Street.
An accomplice, Jordyn D. Wade, stood by with a gun while Adams shot the victims at close range after ordering them to lie face-down on the floor in what investigators think was a drug-related crime.
The girl who survived, now 17, played dead after a bullet grazed her head and took off part of her left ear. She identified the gunmen through photos and testified against Wade at his trial in May. The Dispatch is not identifying her at the request of prosecutors, who fear for her safety.
Wade was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 172 1/2 years, after the jury convicted him of charges that included four counts of aggravated murder and one count of attempted murder.
Wade was 16 at the time of the shootings, but a Juvenile Court judge transferred his case to adult court.
Adams issued his apology after listening to angry, tearful statements from Nelson's grandmother, Carolyn Nelson Medley, and mother, Terra Nelson.
"No one deserves to die in that manner," Medley said. "You took a mother, you took fathers and you took a sister away just to settle a score, and now you must pay for being an evil person. ... You are just a monster and may you rot in hell someday."
Nelson called Adams "an animal that needs to be caged."
"Since you are heartless, get high off of this life you chose. I hope the Lord has mercy on your soul."
Adams stared straight ahead and showed no emotion as he listened to the statements and while delivering his brief remarks.