A man accused of killing his foster mother and two siblings will be now be tried for murder in the first degree, which means he can no longer receive the death penalty.
Kevin Wayne Adams was 16 years old when he allegedly murdered his family in the Lookingglass area in November 2017. He appeared in court Friday for an arraignment of the new charges.
He was charged with eight counts of aggravated murder, which will be changed to eight counts of murder in the first degree.
The charges were changed to comply with Senate Bill 1013, which amended Oregon’s capital punishment laws.
Murder in the first degree carries a maximum sentence of life in prison with the possibility of parole after 30 years. Aggravated murder is a crime punishable by death or life imprisonment.
Kevin Adams told police he shot the victims multiple times after his foster parent, Robert Adams, left the house, around 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 8, 2017.
Robert Adams dialed 911 just before 8:45 p.m. after he found his wife, 55-year-old Donya Adams, his daughter 26-year-old Armory Adams, and his foster daughter, 10-year old Payshience “Tia” Adams, dead inside. He also noted his handgun was on the bed, which is not where he kept it.
Robert Adams received a $1.7 million settlement from the Oregon Department of Human Services in December 2019, because Kevin Adams was a foster child at the time of the crime. Under Oregon law the Department of Human Services is liable for intentional torts committed by foster children.
While lawyers agreed to amend the charges, they have not yet reached a consensus on whether to try Kevin Adams as a juvenile or an adult.
Senate Bill 1008 would transfer the case to juvenile court unless the State of Oregon filed a waiver motion.
Douglas County Circuit Court Judge Kathleen Johnson asked all parties to file motions confidentially while the plaintiff considers all options available. Johnson also stayed the proceedings in court for the original case against Adams, which stops the legal process from moving forward.
A settlement is scheduled between both parties on Feb. 7 with Douglas County Circuit Court Judge William Marshall.
A hearing has been tentatively scheduled for four days starting Feb. 18 and the trial has been scheduled to take six weeks, starting on May 5.