William Ray Adams was sentenced to 30 years in prison after prosecutors said he intended to kidnap and murder his wife.
Adams, 55, of Norman, pleaded guilty to attempted kidnapping, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and two felony weapons charges Jan. 8, 2020, in district court. Cleveland County Chief District Judge Thad Balkman sentenced Adams after hearing the 911 call, statements from victims and arguments from the prosecutor and Adams’ attorney.
Lisa Adams was at work on Jan. 10, 2018, when her husband entered Bergey Wind Power Co. with a shotgun and a gas mask, court records show. He demanded his wife leave with him, but when she refused he tried to forcibly remove her. A coworker, Colette Wind, grabbed her other arm as Adams and Wind struggled in a tug of war with Lisa in between, police reports showed.
Adams shot Wind in the right arm and sustained severe injuries, court records show. Prosecutors said she could have lost her life.
Body cam footage shows Lisa shaking as she told police what happened.
“I left him two weeks ago because he was acting crazy,” she said. “I called the cops, but they wouldn’t do anything. He came to shoot me. He shot her (Wind).”
Another employee Tod Hanley was able to get the gun away from Adams when he laid it on the desk after he shot Wind. Hanley shot Adams in the neck and kept him on the ground until police arrived, according to court records.
Mrs. Adams was staying at the Women’s Resource Center for abused women before the incident and had written him a letter begging him to get help for what she believed was a mental health condition. Prosecutors read from the letter.
“She tells him that he needs help, more help than his family can provide, more than he is willing to see because he truly doesn’t see what they are seeing and how it’s slowly killing them,” assistant district attorney Patrick Crowe said.
Text messages reveal that Lisa texted her husband prior to the crime. “You get help or I’m never coming home,” Crowe read the messages before the court.
“But Mr. Adams didn’t want to get help. He wanted her home,” he said.
Prosecutors said Adams planned his crime days in advance. Investigators found receipts for ammunition in his vehicle and called the NPD bomb squad because when explosives were found.
Crowe said Adams admitted to police that he brought a smoke bomb and gas mask “to scare everybody and distract them.”
Crowe said there was no doubt Adams intended to kill his wife when told prosecutors, “Hell, I thought they’d build her a damn statue in one of the parks...for all she went through with all the stuff going on with domestic abuse,” Crowe quoted from a police report.
“The defendant’s intention that day was to kidnap his wife, take her back home, kill her and kill himself,” Crowe said.
Balkman ordered a presentencing investigation, which revealed Adams suffered from depression and anxiety and had been diagnosed with congestive heart failure with little time to live, the court document reads.
Adams’ defense attorney Kevin Finlay said his client’s actions made sense to him that day because of his mental illness.
“One of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do in my job is convince somebody who suffers from severe mental health issues is that they suffer from severe mental health issues,” Finlay said. “I don’t say this to minimize what he did, but I say this so the court can understand that Mr. Adams didn’t believe he was going in there to hurt anybody. Mr. Adams believed he was going in there with a rational plan.”
Adams testified on his own behalf, beginning with a tearful apology to Wind and his family.
“I never was gonna murder anyone,” he said. “I want to die.”
Balkman told Adams that in hearing a third of all felony cases in the county he would be “hard pressed to pinpoint a crime that probably didn’t have the presence of mental illness because it is so prevalent.”
However, the judge said mental illness does not “really justify or mitigate what Mr. Adams did. I also heard Mr. Adams say and his son...this is not the same man today that he was in early January 2018. I believe that. I also believe that neither are his victims the same today as they were. Their lives are forever changed, forever altered.”
Mindy Ragan Wood