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1980 Richland Shopping Center killer given parole
Adams killed Goff with shotgun

John O. Adams, who was convicted of murder, was found suitable for parole by a panel of the State Board of Parole Hearings.

Adams, a Modesto native, was found suitable for parole at a June 10 hearing of the State Board of Parole Hearings at Solano State Prison in Vacaville.

At the parole hearing, Deputy District Attorney Brad Nix argued against parole based on the extreme violence of the crime, Adam's then ongoing pattern of violence, and his diagnosed anti-social personality disorder and alcohol abuse disorder for which Adams had not received any psychiatric treatment.

Adams claimed at his parole hearing to having been free of any misbehavior while in prison for 31 of the 33 years he has been imprisoned and to having completed several classes and to his having being trained in prison as an optician. Adams claimed that his problems stemmed from his bad associations as a youth with people who urged him to use violence and his drinking and that he would not drink or use drugs if released.

The grant of parole now goes to the governor's office for review. The governor has 120 to 150 days to decide whether or not to grant parole.

In March of 1980, Adams was released on parole for robbery. Adams admitted at the parole hearing that shortly after his release he began carrying around a sawed off shotgun. On the evening of June 8, 1980, at about 7:30 p.m., Adams was out with friend Michael Blanusa in search for one of six men who had purportedly beat up a mutual friend. Having heard where the man could be found, he and Blanusa drove past the Richland Shopping Center in Ceres. Adams said he thought he had been flipped off by a bystander with the last name of Miller. Adams got out of the car and punched Miller who in turn pinned Adams to the ground. Blanusa ordered Miller to release Adams. Shortly after being released by Miller, Adams again approached and punched Miller, who once again held Adams to the ground and this time pinned both of his arms. Blanusa fetched his shotgun from the car and again ordered Miller to release Adams. Miller let go but this time Adams went back to the car and got his shotgun.

After retrieving the weapon, another car drove up and Adams ran up to it and pointed the sawed-off shotgun through the car window at the driver's face and threatened to shoot him. As this occurred, James Goff, intervening for Miller, ran up to Adams and yelled, "Shoot me, if you want to shoot someone; you ain't got the guts." Adams then fired his shotgun at Goff, killing him instantly. Goff had a knife in his hand but, according to witnesses, never attempted to use it.

Following the shooting, Adams and Blanusa drove off. Adams was later arrested in Ventura County.

Adams was convicted by a jury of first-degree murder with use of a gun, possession of a deadly weapon, and assault with a firearm as well has having prior convictions for robbery and burglary. On Dec. 31, 1980, Adams was sentenced to 28 years to life by the Judge Frank Pierson.