A Roseburg man has been sentenced to more than six years in prison after agreeing to a plea deal in the shooting death of his friend. The incident occurred more than two years ago and was livestreamed on the internet.
John Walker Adams, 25, was sentenced by Douglas County Circuit Court Judge Bill Marshall in a packed courtroom Monday to serve 75 months in the Oregon State Prison with 36 months post-prison supervision, a $200 fine and restitution for the funeral expenses of the victim.
Walker agreed to plead guilty to second-degree manslaughter in the death of Josman Cereceres, of Portland, who was 23 at the time of his death on Nov. 17, 2017.
Prosecutor Steve Hoddle said the district attorney’s office worked with the Cereceres family to get a plea bargain agreement in place.
“Prior to making this offer, they reached out to us that they would like an offer,” Hoddle said. “We just worked with the victims to make sure justice is served.”
When police responded and questioned him, Adams originally told investigators that Cereceres had shot himself.
Defense attorney David Terry said the case was closed and declared accidental, but Adams came forward and told police that he was the one that shot Cereceres.
“The Sheriff’s office informed him that the case was closed and the family (of Cereceres) was notified in Texas that he was the victim of an accidental self-inflicted gunshot,” Terry said.
Hoddle said investigators were able to recover a copy of the live broadcast that showed Adams loading a magazine into the pistol, pulling back the gun’s slide to load a live round into the firing chamber and placing the gun to the side of Cereceres’ head before pulling the trigger. The two had been drinking and joking around with the gun on the video.
In an interview with police, Adams said he and Cereceres had been drinking and livestreaming themselves on LiveMe when the shooting occurred. Adams said he picked up the pistol and the gun accidentally went off and the bullet struck Cereceres in the head, according to court documents.
“He expressed as profound a sense of remorse and acceptance of responsibility and regret that I’ve ever witnessed,” Terry said. “The two were very dear, close friends.”
Adams had no criminal history, Hoddle told the judge, and he came forward after the case had basically been closed. But Marshall said he didn’t have much leeway in sentencing a Measure 11 crime.
“What we have here is an incident where the mixture of a firearm and alcohol just doesn’t work,” Marshall said. “And I have little discretion here based upon Oregon statutes.”
Nearly 100 people — family, friends and people from Adams’ church — showed up at the sentencing and filled the courtroom, with several more waiting outside. Kecia Adams, the defendant’s mother, was the only member of the audience to speak.
“We’d just like the parents (of Cereceres) to know that we have been grieving for the loss so much and we hope that at one point we are able to seek forgiveness,” she said. “We’d like them to know how deeply sorry we are for their loss in this tragic accident.”
John Walker Adams spoke briefly and thanked the large contingent who came to support him.
“It’s overwhelming and thank you all so much, I was only able to survive the past two years of hell because of you,” he said. “I’ll be back soon, and I’ll see you all again.”