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FIRST ON WITN: No Bond For Cold Case Murder Suspect

A Craven County judge refused to set a bond for a man wanted in two murders, including one that happened in New Bern 34 years ago.

Andrew Adams made a brief court appearance before a district judge in New Bern this morning. Inside that courtroom was the daughter of Gwendolyn Nelson, who was only four years old when her mom was raped and murdered.

Adams was charged earlier this week for the cold case death of Nelson. The woman's body was found near an elementary school cafeteria in New Bern on June 29th, 1977.

Adams was arrested late last week for an unrelated murder of a Wilmington woman. Her body was found buried in a backyard.

Friday was the first time Kindell Mitchell has seen the man accused of killing her mother. "It felt like I was actually at a horror movie," Mitchell said of her experience in the courtroom. "The man, he looks like he's a true demon."

Mitchell's mom was just 17 years old when she was raped and murdered outside of the old F.R. Danyus Elementary School in New Bern. "How could a man do something that evil to a young lady knowing, whether or not she had family or had a child. I mean it just broke my heart to actually see him."

New Bern police say Adams was questioned back when the case was active, but there wasn't enough evidence against him back then. The woman's murder case was reopened five years ago, about the same time Adams was released from prison after serving time for a rape conviction.

This morning District Attorney Scott Thomas asked the judge not set a bond for Adams. The Wilmington man is being represented by James Payne in both cases.

The maximum penalty Adams faces if convicted is the death penalty. "At this point in time, over 35, I mean 35 years. Death penalty. That's what he needs," the victim's daughter told us after the hearing.

Adams' next court date in Craven County is February 3rd.


Previous Story

A woman who was just four years old when her mother was raped and murdered speaks to WITN about a break in the case 34 years later.

Authorities say Andrew Adams has been charged with the 1977 rape and murder of Gwendolyn Nelson of New Bern. Adams is a registered sex offender with a history of rape and attempted rape convictions.

Last week he was arrested for murdering a Wilmington woman and burying her body in a backyard.

Warrants in Craven County say the murder happened in June 1977.

Nelson's daughter was four years old at the time of her mother's death. Kindell Mitchell, who lives in Shelby, said she found out in 2006 that her mom's murder case had been reopened. "I was excited because out of all my time that I actually knew about the case I was excited because I was actually going to get closure," said Mitchell.

Nelson was found dead on June 29, 1977 near the cafeteria of F.R. Danyus School on West Street. That building is now a Headstart center.

New Bern police say the case went cold after several years, but was reopened about five years ago, hoping to uncover new leads.

Police say Adams was recently developed as a suspect, and had already been conferring with Wilmington police when last week's murder happened. New Bern police say evidence has now been obtained that links Adams to Nelson's murder.

The 55-year-old Adams was charged in Wilmington with last week's murder of Latricia Scott. The 24-year-old woman's body was found last Friday.

Adams has a criminal record dating back to 1973. He has convictions from Craven, Greene and New Hanover counties. He was last released five years ago on a rape conviction.

A search warrant for Adams' Wilmington home says the man had been convicted of five rapes in New Bern and four in Wilmington.

Authorities in Craven County say Adams remains jailed in New Hanover County and they expect him to be brought to New Bern for a first appearance later this week or early next week.


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