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More than 20 years after admitting to killing wife and son, Indianapolis man still awaits trial – WISH-TV | Indianapolis News | Indiana weather

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — On September 21, 1999, police investigating armed robberies at two Pizza Hut restaurants found two bodies stuffed in a garage freezer at 3950 Thrush Drive near Indianapolis.

Within days of the discovery, police made an arrest. Indianapolis suspect John Keith Adams was found on September 30, 1999 in Independence, Missouri. Renouncing his Miranda rights, he admitted to killing his 28-year-old wife Robin Adams on April 19, 1999 and his 10-month-old son John Ramseys Adams around June 1999.

The suspect, John Keith Adams, has spent much of the past two decades in Logansport State Hospital and is deemed unfit to stand trial. (WISH Photo)

The then prosecutor was willing to hear the case and wanted to call for the death penalty. More than 23 years later, Adams still faces a jury for the crimes he openly admitted and the case is still a long way from going to trial.

Adams is still in custody after more than 20 years. He has spent most of the past two decades at Logansport State Hospital.

“There will be no appeals or anything like that. I’ll plead guilty if they want to execute me, they can. If not, I don’t think there’s any way I’m going to spend 20 years in a place like this. I mean, if they don’t, I’m just going to kill myself,” John Keith Adams said in an interview with News 8 in October 1999.

According to the original probable cause affidavit, Robin had been shot in the head, choking John.

“Robin’s death was instantaneous and quick. She didn’t even know. She was sleeping, she didn’t even know what hit her. Little John, I mean, I didn’t want his death to last as long as it was,” Adams said in 1999.

I-Team 8 reviewed more than 450 pages in the Adams case file.

Investigators consider the case

The victims were discovered by two Marion County Sheriff’s Office detectives, Doug Scheffel and Chris Hefner. Both men are now retired.

(requested photo)

In 1999, the two detectives investigated Adams for the armed robbery of two Pizza Huts in Indianapolis. A tip led them to the Adams house. On their first visit, they knocked on the door and Adams didn’t answer. They got a search warrant and came back later that week.

With a search warrant in hand, investigators returned to the home. The first thing they noticed was a strong smell of weed in the house, like raw, recently grown marijuana. The search led them to the garage.

“I was looking for evidence of the robberies and Hefner went to the garage. Hefner was a drug detective. He had a nose for drugs. He was outside in the garage and called me, ‘Hey, you have to check this out,'” Scheffel said.

Hefner’s past experiences led him to believe he was about to discover some weed.

“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen marijuana balls or blocks of marijuana in freezers. So I thought, ‘ah, ha.’ I walked over to the freezer and lifted the lid and the first thing I remember was blood on the inside of the lid and it hasn’t clicked yet,” Hefner said.

“I thought he found some drugs and took me to the freezer and that’s where we found the bodies,” Scheffel said.

The couple found the bodies of Robin and John in the freezer.

Part of the probable affidavit for Adams’ arrest.

“This kid was put in this freezer alive,” Hefner said

It turned out Adams had been in the house when the two detectives first visited. He later told police he was hiding in the living room and was ready to shoot them if they got inside. Before detectives returned with the warrant, Adams had escaped.

“He escaped and went to Missouri and we put his vehicle details in after we found the bodies and everything. We listed his vehicle on NCIS as a person of interest in a homicide and a Missouri police officer found him sleeping in a car,” Scheffel said

It was Adam’s roommate, Elliot Peter, who told police that Adams was driving a rented van and was on the run. He had kept the information to himself to give Adams time to leave the state. Peter told police he knew Adams had robbed a couple of pizza places and led them to a storage box that contained items from the robberies. Peter said the police didn’t know about the bodies in the freezer.

Scheffel went to Missouri to interview Adams. He said Adams was very matter-of-fact about the murders and showed no remorse

“It was just like you and I were talking and, you know, I’ve never really gotten any real indication of mental illness other than the fact that you would think someone would have to be mentally ill to do something like that , but never said, ‘I heard voices in my head doing this,'” Scheffel said.

Was he able to negotiate at the time?

Part of a letter from Adams regarding his competence.

“I was surprised that he was found mentally incompetent,” Scheffel said.

Adams has never denied killing his wife and son. Then-Marion County Attorney Scott Neuman said he would seek the death penalty against Adams. The case seemed open and closed, but there’s a catch.

Adams planned to represent himself despite concerns about whether he would even be able to stand trial, let alone represent himself in a death penalty case. To his displeasure, he was assigned a public defender.

In 2001, the court declared him unfit to stand trial.

“I think it’s unusual, unless someone is declared incompetent. However, what I found unusual is that his public defenders are basically continuing the competency hearings,” said Dr. Jody Madeira of Indiana University’s Maurer School of Law.

Over the years, the court has scheduled dozens of competency hearings and he has undergone multiple psychiatric evaluations. Adams has written several letters to the judge asking for a new attorney and continues to insist on representing himself, but the judge did not rule in his favor. Each year he and his court-appointed attorneys are required to appear in court for a competency update.

“The difficult thing is that it appears that his requests for the competency hearing are the reason he is incompetent. In other words, he wants to become competent so that he can represent himself and essentially impose the death penalty,” said Dr. Madeira.

Why did Adams kill his wife and son? He told detectives he didn’t know how to leave his wife and appeared to have met another woman.

Attempts by I-Team 8 to contact Adams’ attorney – past and present – have been unsuccessful.

A remote hearing for Adams is scheduled for December 1 at 10 a.m. in Marion County Superior Court 30. I-Team 8 will let you know if the judges decide if it’s time for Adams to stand trial after 23 years.

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