The getaway driver in the murder of New York State Trooper Andrew J. Sperr, Bryan Adams, pleaded guilty yesterday to charges in exchange for a lighter sentence, after having testified against convicted triggerman Anthony Horton in his criminal trial. A third accomplice is awaiting trial.
An article from the Democrat & Chronicle of Rochester is shown below.
The Associated Press
September 28, 2006) — A getaway driver in a Southern Tier bank robbery admitted his role in the slaying of a state trooper in exchange for a shorter sentence for testifying against the triggerman.
Bryan Adams, 45, pleaded guilty to robbery and second-degree murder Wednesday — a day after his accomplice, Anthony Horton, was convicted of killing Trooper Anthony J. Sperr in a March 1 shootout in the town of Big Flats near Elmira.
Sperr, a native of Greece, pulled over a pickup truck with a dangling license plate, not realizing the two men inside had just robbed a bank. As he walked up, Horton opened fire without warning from the passenger seat. The trooper managed to shoot back, wounding both Horton and Adams before dying.
Chemung County District Attorney John Trice said the plea was accepted because Adams agreed to "cooperate and testify truthfully" against Horton. He also agreed to testify against his 42-year-old brother, Wayne Adams, who is accused of acting as the lookout during the bank robbery and is awaiting trial on murder and robbery charges.
At sentencing on Nov. 16, Adams will receive at least 15 years to life in prison but will not draw the maximum penalty of 25 years to life, Trice said. "There’s a range there — it will be up to the judge to decide," he said after the plea.
Bryan Adams testified Monday that Horton, a 34-year-old career criminal, reached for a .357 Magnum revolver and declared "he was going to shoot the cop" as they were being pulled over. Horton also mentioned in that moment that "New York doesn’t have the death penalty," Adams said.
Horton was convicted Tuesday of murder, robbery and criminal possession of a weapon, including an aggravated murder charge that carries a maximum sentence of life in prison without possibility of parole.
As for Bryan Adams, "we are sure that he never had his hand on that gun or any gun," Trice said.
The trial, the prosecutor added, provided "a wake-up call for some people out there who don’t think the death penalty is a deterrent. I think that when we see some of this really cold-blooded, really awful type of behavior in some of these people, it’s my feeling that, well, it’s time to say goodbye."
Capital punishment was suspended when the state Court of Appeals ruled part of New York’s death penalty law unconstitutional in 2004. The state Legislature has not agreed on changes to the law that would restore execution.