Charges: Sudden Valley man confessed to shooting stepfather

Shooting suspect told detectives 'I'm a criminal, and I just killed my dad'

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDJanuary 23, 2014 

A man accused of shooting his 60-year-old stepfather to death at a home in Sudden Valley has confessed, according to a statement read in court Thursday afternoon, Jan. 23.

Joshua Aaron Adams, 41, has been charged with murder in the second degree. He's being held in Whatcom County Jail in lieu of $1.5 million bail.

Prosecutors believe Adams shot Steven Roy Siebert, his stepfather, twice in the left shoulder with a 20-gauge shotgun. The gun had been stolen from the upper loft of the Siebert home on Lake Louise Drive.

Another son came home around 6:15 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 21, to find Siebert dead in the kitchen. Missing were the shotgun, the family dog, a red Subaru Legacy that had been in the driveway - and Adams, who lived at 35 Marigold Drive, a 10-minute walk from the scene of the killing.

Deputies searched the home but found no sign of him.

Four hours later, the stolen Subaru rolled up to a Shell station on Highway 20, near the exit to La Conner. A man with a dog got out. Together they got into a black Ford F-150 that was refueling, then drove off, leaving the red car behind.

Sheriff's deputies on Whidbey Island were asked to keep eye out for the stolen pickup around 11 p.m. A sergeant spotted the large black truck, with plates matching the broadcasted "watch-for," headed south on the highway.

According to charges filed Wednesday in Island County Superior Court, the driver wouldn't pull over for the lights and sirens. So state troopers set spike strips on the road in Greenbank, about 8 miles south of where the chase began, and took out the tires. Still, the truck kept going, smoke rising from the wheels, and strips of tire and sparks spitting out onto the road.

A few minutes later Adams stopped in the middle of the highway, according to the Island County Sheriff's Office. He got out to pace. The sergeant came at him with a patrol rifle, shouting for him to get on the ground. But the man jumped back into the truck and screeched off on the torn-up tires. He drove southeast like that for about 12 minutes before the sergeant could cut him off, where the highway narrows, and brought the truck to a stop.

Adams hopped out and paced again, his hands in the air. The sergeant tackled him.

"He was talking about letting the officers 'end this for him,'" according to a statement read in court Thursday by Whatcom County Chief Criminal Deputy Eric Richey.

A handgun was found on the passenger seat. The dog - which looked "like a Golden Retriever," the sergeant wrote - was handed over to animal control.

Later, Richey said, Adams confessed to the killing, saying: "I'm a criminal, and I just killed my dad." According to the prosecutor, he recalled his father's last words: "This is not fair." Adams then ran up to Siebert and said, "I'm sorry."

A motive has not been made public. But family members told investigators Adams suffers from mental illness and did not get along with Siebert, Richey said.

Adams ran from the scene, he told detectives, to enjoy his last minutes of freedom.

Lydia Koroma, the Whatcom County public defender just assigned to the case, declined to comment about the allegations Thursday in court.

Adams is accused of second-degree murder and possession of a stolen vehicle in Whatcom County. He had a warrant out for his arrest for missing a court hearing, on the day of the shooting, in a Skagit County DUI case.

Adams has been charged in Island County, too, with attempting to elude law enforcement, possession of a stolen vehicle, possession of a stolen firearm and unlawful possession of a firearm in the second degree. The Island County sheriff's sergeant wrote he believed, but still needed to confirm, that Adams had a felony history out of California. That would make it a crime for Adams to have a gun.

On the morning after the killing, flowers were left outside the Siebert home.

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Reach Caleb Hutton at 360-715-2276 or caleb.hutton@bellinghamherald.com. Read his Dispatcher Blog at bellinghamherald.com/dispatcher-blog or follow him on Twitter at @bhamcrime.

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