Wednesday afternoon, 30 year-old Wayne Claude Adams pled guilty yesterday to second-degree murder before Second Circuit Judge Christopher Schmidt at the Harrison County Courthouse in Gulfport, MS. Judge Schmidt sentenced the defendant to 40 years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, suspending 17 years, leaving 23 to serve.
The defendant will have to serve 5 years of post-release supervision upon his release.
The investigation into the offense began on February 22, 2018, when the victim’s mother filed a missing person’s complaint with law enforcement. Investigators with Biloxi Police Department and the Harrison County Sheriff’s Department began tracing the victim’s last movements.
During the investigation, Harrison County investigators located the victim’s rings at a pawnshop in Harvey, Louisiana and determined the rings had been pawned by the defendant’s girlfriend at the time.
“DNA testing confirmed one of the rings belonged to the victim. Investigators were able to later identify a witness who advised he had picked up the victim and the defendant at a trailer park off of County Farm Road. The witness stated he drove the defendant and victim out in Harrison County when an altercation began. The defendant and victim got out of the vehicle and walked away. The defendant returned to the car several minutes later without the victim. The witness also advised that later that day the defendant told him he killed the victim and left her in a body of water out in Harrison County. Investigators were able to locate the remains of a body in a pond on August 31, 2018, which was later confirmed to be the victim utilizing her dental records.” said Assistant District Attorney Patti Simpson who prosecuted the case.
At his plea hearing, the defendant admitted he met with the victim, and they engaged in a verbal argument. This confrontation turned physical, and the defendant said that the victim bit him and he thereafter stabbed her.
During his sentencing hearing, the victim’s mother told Judge Schmidt that her life “is now dedicated to being [Victim’s] voice.” She described the scholarship program in place in memory of her daughter and how she finds comfort “knowing that [Victim] is asleep with the angels.”
The victim’s mother thanked the Harrison County Sheriff’s Department for their extraordinary investigation in this case which brought justice for her daughter.
“I want to commend the Harrison County Sheriff’s Department and the investigation team for their determination and vigilance in both searching for the victim and in finding answers. The victim was loved dearly by her family, and although nothing will bring their love one back, hopefully, the conviction and prison sentence will assist the victim’s family in the healing process,” stated Second Circuit District Attorney Crosby Parker.
Given the nature of the crime, the sentence will have to be served day for day without the eligibility of probation or parole.