Jim Adams convicted of second-degree murder for beating wife, Rhoda Adams, with crowbar

Kotzebue, Alaska (KINY) – A Kotzebue jury on Sept. 19 convicted 44-year-old Jim Adams of Noatak of murder in the second degree for the beating death of his wife, Rhoda Adams. He was also convicted of assault in the first degree for beating his cousin, Charlie Bailey, III.

Adams woke up on the morning of June 27, 2020, and found his wife gone. Adams began looking for Rhoda and eventually found her at his cousin Bailey’s house.  Holding a crowbar, Adams kicked in both the doors to the arctic entry and main house.  Adams swung the crowbar at Rhoda, but Charlie stepped in front of her and blocked the blow with his left arm.  That initial blow broke Charlie’s arm and was followed by multiple blows to both sides of Charlie’s head and face.  Charlie escaped further assault but fell unconscious on the living room floor.

Adams then turned his attention to 31-year-old Rhoda.  He struck her with the crowbar more than 100 times.  At some point during the beating, Adams removed Rhoda’s clothes. He took her clothes with him and hid them in his home and then claimed he found Rhoda in bed naked with Charlie. Rhoda’s bloody clothes were found at Adams’ residence, along with bloody clothing worn by Adams.  Adams was seen wearing an orange sweatshirt which was shown during the trial by the State Crime Lab Forensic Scientist, Danielle Ledford, to have the blood from both victims on the sleeves.

The defense argued that Adams committed the murder in the heat of passion, which could have resulted in a manslaughter conviction.  After deliberations, the jury rejected Adams’ heat of passion defense and found Adams recklessly killed Rhoda. 

Sentencing is set for Jan. 22, 2024.  This case was prosecuted by Sam Vandergaw from the Office of Special Prosecutions (OSP) and Ashly Crocket of the Nome District Attorney’s Office (DAO), with paralegal support from Nome DAO paralegal Lu Lyatunguk and support from Caleb Eaker of OSP.