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Hot Tub Slayer Gets 20 Years


Sad story, drug related homicide of her former boyfriend.

Woman Sentenced to 20 years in Scottsdale Hot-Tub Slaying

April 20, 2011 · Published By Student Journalist

killerA 28-year-old Phoenix woman was sentenced Friday by Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Roland Steinle to 20 years in prison for a 2009 Scottsdale hot-tub slaying.

Morgan Leigh Adams pleaded guilty to three felony charges: manslaughter, attempted sale of narcotic drugs and sale of narcotic drugs.  She was sentenced to a five-year probation following her prison term.

On May 14, 2009, a landscaper found the body of 44-year-old Dale Webber in the spa of his Scottsdale home.  The cause of death was initially believed to be a drowning, but the Maricopa County Medical Examiner later found that Webber had been shot, according to court records.

Police records stated that Webber had been dead for a number of days before his body was found.

Adams, who dated the victim for three years and remained in contact with him to purchase oxycontin after their breakup, was arrested in connection with the killing on July 9, 2009, according to court records. Adams was initially charged with 16 counts, including first-degree murder, armed robbery, misconduct involving weapons and narcotic drug violations, court documents stated.

She was held at the Fourth Avenue Jail on a $1 million cash bond, according to court records.

Defense attorney Eric Kessler told Adams’ loved ones before the proceedings began, “There’s nothing I can say that will change the outcome of today.”

Steinle said during the sentencing that “while (the plea bargain may not fully be what the family wanted,” he accepted the plea and believed the attorneys had worked hard on the case.

“I have full confidence… that it was not just to remove another file from the desk,” Steinle said.

Deputy County Attorney Laura Reckart commended the Scottsdale Police Department in “bringing this woman to justice,” calling it a “very difficult case to solve.”

Adams fainted as she walked to stand in front of the judge, causing a brief halt in the proceedings before she gave her final statement to the court.

“I want to send my condolences to the family,” Adams said as she shook.  “When they lost a son and brother, I lost my best friend myself.”

Webber’s sister, Rhonda Long, spoke on behalf of the victim’s family, calling the killing “senseless, unnecessary and cold-blooded.”

“I’m here today with family members to speak for Dale, who can no longer speak for himself,” she said, tears in her eyes.  Her husband David stood behind her and comforted her as she spoke to the judge.

The killing occurred around Mother’s Day in 2009, and the holiday will “always remind (their mother) of the night her youngest son’s life was taken,” Long said.

“I can only hope (Adams) will gain a conscience and someday feel remorse for what she has done,” Long said.

Guest article contributed by Shane McOwen and Kirsten Adams
Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication

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