A former Georgia sheriff’s deputy pleaded guilty this week to fatally shooting a University of Georgia graduate student he believed was having an affair with his wife.
Winford “Trey” Terrell Adams, 34, was sentenced to life in prison in the death of Benjamin Lloyd Cloer, 26, on November 10, 2019, the Athens Banner-Herald reported.
According to Cloer’s family, he was not having an affair with Adams’s wife.
Adams was initially indicted on charges of malice murder, felony murder, first-degree home invasion, two counts of aggravated assault and two counts of firearm possession. He pleaded guilty to felony murder and aggravated assault.
Members of Cloer’s family testified at Adams’s sentencing hearing, with Cloer’s father Steve Cloer providing a searing indictment of his own to the defendant.
“While my son was lying there in a pool of his own blood flowing and removing the life from his body, you kept medical first responders at bay, worried only about yourself and having to confront the consequences of your actions,” he said.
Cloer was having a cookout with friends that day and Adams’s wife, Charlotte Adams, had been invited and arrived early. The deputy used a cell phone app to follow her. He entered Cloer’s home with his gun in hand. As Cloer tried to flee, Adams shot him in the hand and twice in the back, the newspaper said.
After shooting Cloer — who was three weeks from a master’s degree in artificial intelligence from the Athens university — Adams, off duty and in plain clothes, called 911.
“I just shot somebody,” he told a dispatcher, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution said. “My wife was cheating on me, and I couldn’t take it. I didn’t shoot her, I shot the guy. I couldn’t stop myself.”
Adams told the dispatcher that Cloer ran away from him after he fired and that “I don’t even know if I hit him. I’m about to go look for him.”
The dispatcher told him to put his gun down and stay put until officers arrived. Adams threatened to kill himself, telling the operator that he was a deputy and “I can’t go to jail.”
“I can’t. I’m sorry,” he said. ” … Tell Athens-Clarke County I’m not going to hurt any of them, but I can’t go to jail.”
The call lasted for nearly five minutes, and near the end, Adams asked the dispatcher if Cloer had called.
“If you’re there, I’m sorry,” he yelled, then, “Oh my God … I did shoot him. I see him. I see blood on the steps.”
Adams’s wife had also called 911, and an operator told her to get away from her husband. In the background of her call, Adams was her telling her, “I always loved you, even if you didn’t love me.”
Athens-Clarke County officers arrived and took Adams into custody. Cloer was taken to a hospital, where he died.
Adams was fired from the Madison County Sheriff’s Office, where he had been working since August 2018. Prior to Madison County, he had spent a few days with the Royston Police Department and four years with the Statesboro Police Department.
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[Featured image: Lloyd Cloer/Facebook]