Shooter gets life without parole

Published 11:10 am Thursday, March 24, 2016

Mother of victim speaks during sentencing hearing

The mother of a man who was murdered last year said she and her family will never be the same and will forever be at a loss as a result of the actions of Justin Wilson.

Wilson, a 25-year-old South Point man, who appeared in court Wednesday for his sentencing hearing, was found guilty last week of aggravated murder and tampering with evidence following a four-day trial.

April Chambers sobbed as she addressed Lawrence County Common Pleas Presiding Judge Charles Cooper, asking that justice be served for her son, Justin Adams.

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“Justin Adams is my first-born, my baby,” Chambers said. “It has been a great loss since Wilson had taken his life so savagely. … Justin has brothers who will never have him at the dinner table for the holidays.”

Adams was shot in the face at close range on Jan. 13, 2015, during what was described to the jury as an execution over money and drugs. Co-defendants in the case — Nicole Eller and Derrick Rice — admitted to conspiring to rob Adams. Rice enlisted the help of Wilson, who brought the 9mm gun that was used to kill Adams.

During the trial, recordings of Wilson’s interviews with investigators were played, in which the man told several different accounts of what happened, including blindly shooting the gun as he was running out, that he was protecting himself from a knife he said Adams was threatening him with, that he gave the gun to Rice, who had his own bullets and killed Adams and that he already left the house and then heard a gunshot.

On Wednesday, Wilson directly addressed Adams’ mother, firmly restating he was not the one who shot her son, but did admit to bringing the gun that was used.

“I didn’t kill your son,” he said. “I swear I didn’t kill that boy. … I put that on my kids’ life that I didn’t kill your kid.”

Prosecuting attorney Brigham Anderson asked for the maximum sentence allowed saying the incident was a direct result of the county’s drug epidemic.

Meadows asked for leniency for Wilson, again stating that evidence in the case pointed to Rice being the shooter.

Cooper sentenced Wilson to the maximum sentence — life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Wilson indicated he wanted an appeal and attorney Roger Smith was appointed to the case.