More than 30 years ago, Russell Haines was found dead in his Oregon Way Hotel room, strangled and missing his wallet and cash. The culprit was never found.
But on July 6, Glenn Eric Adams, 58, walked up the steps of the Cowlitz County Hall of Justice to confess to murdering Haines.
Adams was 27 at the time he claims to have robbed and killed Haines, after arguing with his then-girlfriend about not having any money. Adam is held without bail at the Cowlitz County Jail on suspicion of first-degree murder and first-degree robbery. Now that he’s admitted guilt in the case, he’s agreed to stay put as the wheels of justice begin to turn.
On Thursday, Adams agreed to be held without bail until his Aug. 7 arraignment, as requested by the prosecution. Cowlitz County Prosecutor Ryan Jurvakainen said the request was a matter of public safety.
“Nobody has a crystal ball,” Jurvakainen said. “Any time a situation such as this comes up, obviously it’s a rare occurrence. (But) whether someone came in of their own volition 30 years later or the murder happened yesterday … murder is a serious violent offense. It falls under the statute for asking for no bail.”
The prosecutor’s office has not yet filed charges against Adams. “When you’re dealing with a case that’s 32 years old,” Jurvakainen said, it takes time to review the entire investigation.
Adams showed up at the Cowlitz County Hall of Justice on July 6, unannounced and sober, to tell the whole story, according to police and court documents. But he’d been trying to confess for more than a year.
His first confession attempt came in July 2017, when he went to a Santa Barbara, California, fire department to turn himself in for Haines’ murder. Adams, however, was intoxicated and didn’t have his story put together enough for an officer to detain him, said Longview police Corporal Tim Watson.
“He walked off when he found out the officer who showed up wasn’t going to take him into custody immediately without taking facts,” Watson said. “The officer didn’t have enough information to detain an intoxicated person talking about something that happened many years prior in another state.”
Watson and Detective Sergeant Chris Blanchard interviewed Adams about the Haines’ death after he was arrested in Oregon on an unrelated charge in September. He gave a few more details and volunteered a DNA sample, but he “wanted to make arrangements with family” before giving a confession. Ultimately, he didn’t give police enough information for them to conclude he was the culprit, Watson said.
The DNA sample has not yet been tested by the State Patrol crime lab, Watson said.
In October, Adams approached a police officer in Tacoma wishing to confess again, but was again too intoxicated to give a confession.
But when Watson interviewed Adams when he showed up in Kelso earlier this month, Adams stated he wanted to be “completely truthful this time.”
“When I met with him this Friday (July 6), he was clear-minded, sober, and fully functional,” Watson said. “This time, he provided me very specific detailed information (about Haines’ death) that would otherwise not be known by anybody else.”
Watson, who is now investigating the case, said Adams had been a person “known to the investigation” before his confession. Since he was still looking through the past investigation, he did not know if Adams had ever been a suspect in the Haines case.
Adams knew Haines regularly carried large amounts of cash, according to his confession in Watson’s police report. So he waited for Haines to arrive at his room and came up from behind as Haines unlocked the door, putting Haines in a chokehold until he fell unconscious.
Adams said he removed $400 from Haines’ wallet and began choking Haines again with a towel or shirt when he began to wake up. Once Haines died, Adams confessed, he picked him up and placed him on his bed, where officers found him later that day.
In the interview, Adams described himself as a homeless transient person since 1990, Watson said, who had been drinking and traveling the United States with no particular destination in mind.
Adams said he wants to “right the wrong” he had committed more three decades ago, Watson said. He wants to simply plead guilty and didn’t even want an attorney when Watson interviewed him, but Adams has been assigned a public defender.