Some­times car­ry­ing around guilt is worse than the pun­ish­ment for a crime – that’s what this killer found af­ter he blew open a 32- year- old cold case

Real Crime - - Contents - Words james mcma­hon

He had got away with mur­der for years, but the bur­den of guilt proved too much for Glenn Adams to stand


Rus­sell Lyle Haines was found dead in March 1986. He’d been stran­gled. His body was found in his ho­tel room at the Ore­gon Way Ho­tel in Longview, Wash­ing­ton, an es­tab­lish­ment that had a rep­u­ta­tion as a sort of home­less shel­ter for tran­sient men. He was found with a cloth around his neck. Rus­sell was 53 years old.

As in­ves­ti­ga­tions go, it was cold from the be­gin­ning. The po­lice had no sus­pects, no wit­nesses and noth­ing to go on. Po­lice es­tab­lished that Rus­sell had died of as­phyxia by stran­gu­la­tion. They be­lieved it was a rob­bery gone wrong, but they had noth­ing con­crete to con­firm their sus­pi­cions that the for­mer Viet­nam vet­eran had died in such a hor­ri­ble way.

Wash­ing­ton has long had a sig­nif­i­cant home­less sit­u­a­tion. Last year, over 22,000 peo­ple were re­ported to be liv­ing rough across the state, a rise of 3.5 per cent from the pre­vi­ous year. In the 1980s, the sit­u­a­tion was even worse. The ac­claimed 1984 doc­u­men­tary Street­wise, set in nearby Seat­tle, Wash­ing­ton’s largest city, painted a des­per­ate por­trait of a re­gion plagued with so­cial prob­lems that re­sulted in an epi­demic of rough sleep­ers. It is within this cli­mate that such a dis­tress­ing crime took place.

Rus­sell Haines was par­tic­u­larly vul­ner­a­ble. Due to in­juries he had sus­tained dur­ing his mil­i­tary ser­vice, he was dis­abled and needed to walk on a pros­the­sis.

If this case started out cold, within a year it was com­pletely frozen shut. It would stay this way for decades. No an­swers and no jus­tice would be de­liv­ered for Rus­sell Haines for over 30 years.


On Fri­day 6 July this year, the long- dor­mant case was blown open when a 58- year- old man named Glenn Eric Adams, then liv­ing in Cal­i­for­nia, walked into the Cowlitz County Hall of Jus­tice and ad­mit­ted it was he who had killed Rus­sell, many years prior. He wanted to “right to wrong that I have done” he told po­lice, be­fore be­ing charged with first- de­gree mur­der and first- de­gree rob­bery the fol­low­ing day.

Adams had been liv­ing with his girl­friend in 1986. They ar­gued about money a lot. On the day of the mur­der, they’d had one such ar­gu­ment. Wait­ing for Rus­sell Haines to re­turn from buy­ing gro­ceries, know­ing the vet­eran of­ten car­ried his money with him, Adams put Rus­sell in a choke­hold. He robbed him of $ 400 once his un­con­scious body had dropped to the floor. When Rus­sell started to come to, Adams took a piece of cloth, put it around Rus­sell’s neck, and didn’t stop pulling un­til his vic­tim was dead.

Adams de­nied all knowl­edge that Rus­sell Haines had a dis­abil­ity. The mur­der only oc­curred, he said, to cover up the rob­bery.

Since then it’s come to light that Adams had tried to con­fess to the mur­der at a pre­vi­ous date. Ac­cord­ing to the Daily News, Adams at­tempted to turn him­self in for Rus­sell Haines’s mur­der in Santa Bar­bara, Cal­i­for­nia, in Septem­ber 2017. How­ever, af­ter ar­riv­ing at the sta­tion, he changed his mind and left be­fore he could be in­ter­viewed.

Once they’d learned of this, Longview Po­lice had re­opened the Rus­sell Haines case in 2017, vis­it­ing Adams in prison in Ore­gon, where he was at that time be­ing held for his role in an un­re­lated crime. “He wasn’t ready to pro­vide a full con­fes­sion at that point,” Chris Blan­chard told me­dia in his role as spokesper­son for the po­lice de­part­ment, adding that Adams did sub­se­quently give po­lice a DNA sam­ple. “He said he wanted to speak with his brother fur­ther be­fore he turned him­self in.

“30 years in the mak­ing,” added Blan­chard, “it got solved rel­a­tively eas­ily.”


While sen­tenc­ing is yet to be­gin – Adams is, un­sur­pris­ingly, plead­ing guilty – his mother, Emma Adams, has since spo­ken about her son’s crime, say­ing she never knew what her son had been hid­ing dur­ing all the years that had passed. “It hits the heart real hard,” she said, “but I’m glad that he did, that he turned him­self in. That at least makes me feel that he still has a con­science.”

In­trigu­ingly, Adams’s mother did say that two decades ago her son had hinted that he may have mur­dered some­one. “The story that he was telling me was that he had ap­par­ently hit some­body and that he fell in the creek and drowned,” she con­tin­ued, as part of an in­ter­view for tele­vi­sion.

Asked by lo­cal broad­caster KOIN 6 what she would say to her son re­gard­ing his crime, she went on to say, “I would say that he has bro­ken my heart for one. The fact that he didn’t ever tell me the real story.” She con­cluded by say­ing to her son, “You’re go­ing to have to suck it up and do your time.”

The con­fes­sion of crimes from years past isn’t a new oc­cur­rence. In 2015, a 91- year- old man – dy­ing of can­cer and at that time liv­ing in Canada – ad­mit­ted to the mur­der of a

woman out­side The Blue La­goon night­club in Soho, Lon­don, in 1946. It’s be­lieved to be the long­est pe­riod ever recorded in the United King­dom be­tween a crime and the con­clu­sion of in­ves­ti­ga­tions.

Azrini Wahidin, pro­fes­sor in crim­i­nol­ogy and crim­i­nal jus­tice at Not­ting­ham Trent Univer­sity, told The Guardian that the be­lief in crim­i­nol­ogy cir­cles is that per­pe­tra­tors of crime are nor­mally driven to con­fess ei­ther be­cause they want to make a new start, or be­cause of re­li­gious fac­tors, such as a be­lief in the af­ter­life. Yet a con­fes­sion wouldn’t be enough for a pros­e­cu­tion in it­self, since the pas­sage of time af­fects the re­li­a­bil­ity of mem­ory. Fit­tingly, Longview Po­lice are now seek­ing ev­i­dence to col­lab­o­rate Glenn Adams’s con­fes­sion.

“When Rus­sell started to come to, Adams took a piece of cloth, put it around Rus­sell’s neck, and didn’t stop pulling un­til his vic­tim was dead ”

Glenn Er ic Adams conf essed to mur­der af­ter 32 y ears, a ppar­ently un­able to liv e with the guilt

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