Thursday, May 20, 2004

Spokane

Records show history of abuse
Bond set at $500,000

Kevin Blocker and Trinity Hartman
Staff writers

James V. Adams has a history of assaulting his family.

Spokane juvenile court records show Adams often threatened to kill his stepfather. He pleaded guilty to assaulting an ex-girlfriend. Now, the 20-year-old Adams is accused of assaulting his 3-month-old son, who is in “very critical condition,” according to one law officer.

Court documents released Wednesday say Adams told two police investigators that he “head butted” the child twice in the back of the h
ead.

“Sustained by life support and unable to breathe or sustain blood pressure on his own,” reads the last sentence of a police affidavit.

Spokane District Court Judge Harold Clarke set Adams' bond at $500,000 Wednesday, during his first court appearance following his Tuesday arrest for first-degree assault of Cadyn S. Adams.

Spokane Deputy Prosecutor Andi Jakkola said prosecutors will file stiffer charges if Cadyn dies.

Adams did not speak during his appearance before Clarke on Wednesday.

Cpl. Dave Reagan said Spokane Valley police are investigating the last three months of the baby's life to see if Cadyn suffered from a pattern of abuse.

“All we know at this point is that he has a fresh skull fracture and broken ribs,” Reagan said.

Police said there is another child living in the home of Adams and Jenny L. Rowe, Cadyn's mother. Neighbors said the girl is the couple's daughter, and is approximately 2 years old.

Reagan said Child Protective Services has previously made contact with the family; however, he did not have information about CPS's previous inquiry. CPS spokesperson Kathy Spears would only say, “There has been no CPS involvement with this child (Cadyn).”

Those who know Adams said they were stunned to learn of Tuesday's incident.

Adams moved to a manufactured home at 18405 E. Dalton Ave. as a child. Adams' mother, identified in county property records as Laura J. Adams, left him the house when she moved south several years ago, neighbors said. Adams moved Rowe - who was pregnant with Cadyn at the time - and the couple's young daughter into the house approximately six months ago, according to neighbors.

Neighbors said they had fairly routine complaints about James Adams, whom they know by his middle name, Vincent. His pit bulls had previously escaped from the fenced yard, the music was sometimes loud and at one point he let junk pile up in the backyard, neighbors said. Adams also had a temper, but neighbors said they never saw him hurt anyone.

“Vince was an all-around good kid as far as we knew,” said Terri Scharff.

Scharff and Bonnie Beitey talked in the front yard of Beitey's home Wednesday. The two neighbors have been so upset by Adams' arrest and the child's injuries that they haven't been able to sleep, Beitey said.

Neighbors said they don't know Rowe very well, but said she seemed like a good mother who never was seen getting upset with her two children.

Scharff and Beitey knew something was wrong Tuesday when they heard fire trucks pull up to the house. Firefighters and paramedics were inside for a long time. Eventually, paramedics came running out holding a small bundle, “and I could see it was the little one,” Beitey said.

Later that day, several police cars showed up.

“My heart goes for the whole family,” Beitey said.

Adams has no felony convictions as an adult, but his juvenile record shows involvement in a series of violent activities.

In 1998, Adams pleaded guilty to assault for threatening to kill his stepfather, Christopher D. Bechtel, several times in a 1-1/2 year span, according to juvenile court records. That same year -- in which Adams was also reported as a runaway -- he pleaded guilty to possession of a dangerous weapon and possession of a dangerous weapon on school grounds, records say. Court papers did not identify the school where Adams brought the butterfly knife.

Court papers show that on Aug.18, 2001, Adams went to the home of ex-girlfriend Rebekkah J. Allen. The two had dated for five months before separating. Adams arrived at her upstairs apartment and told her he wanted to return her cell phone, which was supposedly in his car, records show.

Upon arriving downstairs, Allen was struck several times in the face by another woman court documents only identified as Adams' new girlfriend. Allen suffered bruises and scratches in the attack, which was not life threatening, records say.

Prosecutors reached a deal in that case with Adams, who pleaded guilty to third-degree assault, apparently for setting up the beating.

He spent 30 days in juvenile detention, received six months of community supervision and was ordered to pay $1,165.61 in restitution, court records show.


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