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Mercer County murder suspect commits suicide in jail

By Staff reports

BLUEFIELD, W.Va. -- A Mercer County man arrested for fatally shooting a man and critically injuring a woman committed suicide Wednesday in the city's jail, police said.

Authorities found Donald Ray Adams, 54, of Bluefield, dead from apparent suicide inside his Bluefield jail cell just before 4 p.m., Bluefield Police said. Further questions were forwarded to State Police troopers in the Princeton detachment. Troopers were not available at the detachment Wednesday night.

On Tuesday, Adams provided an audiotape statement in which he admitted to shooting John and Monica Watkins, both of Bluefield, according to a criminal complaint filed in Mercer County Magistrate Court.

Adams spoke with reporters as police led him away to jail Tuesday and said he committed the shooting while under the influence of crack cocaine, the Bluefield Daily Telegraph reported.

"I'd say if West Virginia had a death penalty, I would probably deserve it," the newspaper quoted Adams as saying.

Monica Watkins of Bluefield was undergoing surgery Wednesday afternoon at a Roanoke, Va., hospital to recover from injuries sustained during the shooting.

Just before midnight Monday, Bluefield Police officers were called to 201 Burton Street in Bluefield to investigate a call of shots fired. Police then found Monica Watkins critically injured and her husband, John, 79, dead from a single gunshot wound, according to a complaint.

Monica Watkins was responsive and identified Adams as the shooter, according to the complaint. She later told paramedics Adams allegedly stole $200 in cash and her checkbook after the shooting. She was taken to Bluefield Regional Medical Center and was later moved to the hospital in Virginia.

Police spoke with Watkins' relatives and neighbors who said he used to live directly across the street from the victims and owed them money. Police said neighbors knew Adams would routinely ask for money and he was last seen at the home two weeks ago, according to the complaint.

Deidre Smalls, Adams' ex-girlfriend, called police detectives Tuesday after hearing about the shooting and said she saw Adams near her home on Tyler Street in Bluefield, according to the complaint. Officers responded and arrested Adams after a short foot pursuit, according to the complaint.

During questioning, Adams allegedly admitted to the shooting and said he stashed his clothes inside his apartment on College Avenue in Bluefield, according to the complaint.

He was arrested and charged with first-degree murder and placed in the jail without bail.


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