Westover man accused in 1985 death of Terra Alta teenager

David Adams (WVRJA)

TERRA ALTA, W.Va. — Detectives from the Preston County Sheriff’s Department and West Virginia State Police say a Monongalia County man has confessed to a 1985 murder.

Troopers said David Adams, 56, of Westover, was recently re-interviewed by troopers in connection with the November 1985 death of Jerimiah Watkins, 13.

Watkins’ body was recovered from a shallow grave in Terra Alta on Nov. 12, 1985. He had been stabbed and had suffered blunt force trauma to the head.

According to Preston County Prosecutor James Shay, Captain T. N. Tichnell with the Preston County Sheriff’s Department works with serious crimes regularly and conducts reviews of cold cases when possible.

“I was just taking another run at a case that been cold for many years just to see what he could come up with. So it was assigned to him and he did a lot of good work on it,” Shay said.

According to a Tuesday news release, Adams admitted in recent interviews with troopers that he hit Watkins in the face at his Terra Alta home then took him to a shed where he stabbed him. Troopers believe Adams then placed the body in the shallow grave.

“He actually, according to the police report gave a confession back in 1985, he later recanted that confession and ultimately was concluded not to be a suspect back then,” Shay said.

Adams was 18 at the time of Watkins’ death. He’s now been charged with second degree murder.

“These are the initial charges, they are subject to change,” Shay said. “Up to the point that this individual might be indicted by the grand jury,” Shay said.

Adams is being held at the North Central Regional Jail in lieu of a $1 million bail.

Troopers said the death may have been related to a stolen bicycle.

Adams is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on Feb. 22 at 3 p.m.

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