A Hood County jury took less than half an hour to deliver a guilty verdict against a woman accused of making death threats to several Hood County officials.
Karen Ladell Adams, 59, of Oak Trail Shores was convicted Thursday of three counts of retaliation.
District Attorney Rob Christian said that Adams threatened to kill District Judge Ralph Walton, Sheriff Roger Deeds and Sheriff’s Office Captain Jerry East.
The threats were made not long after Adams’ son, Gordon Ray Lewis, also of OTS, was charged with capital murder in the January 2012 shooting death of club owner Gene Sabin, Deeds said. Two others were charged in the shooting death. One was sentenced to life in prison and the other will stand trial later.
“It was very, very quick,” Deeds said about the jury’s decision. “We had barely stepped out into the hallway. It’s unfortunate that the whole incident happened. I felt confident they would find her guilty.”
Adams was sentenced to six years in prison. Christian said that Adams could be eligible for parole after serving less than one-fourth of the prison term.
Witnesses told authorities that they heard Adams make the death threats, according to Christian.
Christian said that when Adams heard of her son’s indictment as one of the three murder suspects, she called a neighbor and they talked about it. The neighbor told Adams she wanted to pray about it.
“The neighbor prayed that any innocent people charged in the Sabin murder case be exonerated and that the people guilty of the murder be brought to justice,” Christian said. “Upon hearing the prayer, Adams flew into a rage.”
Adams then accused East of “being out for” her son, and made the death threats, Christian said.
Adams told the neighbor that she previously worked as a housekeeper at the Hood County Justice Center, and “knew how to gain entry into the Justice Center, and that she knew where Judge Walton keeps a handgun in the Justice Center,” Christian said. “Adams also made threats against Hood County officials to others in the neighborhood.”
The neighbor, fearing for the safety of the law enforcement officials, relayed the information to the Sheriff’s Office and “told of others who had heard Adams make threats.”
Another witness told investigators that Adams was heard saying she “wanted to put a bullet through Roger Deeds’ brain.”
Adams’ attorney argued that she was merely “venting” and did not intend to carry out the threats, Christian said.
“Public servants and their families willfully endure public scrutiny,” Christian said. “However, living in fear of retaliation is not part of their jobs. The retaliation law broadly defines ‘public servants’ to include public officials as well as jurors, witnesses, informants and people who report crimes.”
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