Fugitive in police chief slaying died in 1997 after stroke
Jul. 20, 2017
DARTMOUTH, Mass. (AP) — A man wanted in the 1980 killing of a Pennsylvania police chief lived in a secret room in his ex-wife's home and told her to bury him in the backyard when he died — which she did after he had two strokes in 1997.
The remains of Donald Eugene Webb were found buried in the yard of a Dartmouth, Massachusetts, house last week.
Authorities say Webb fatally shot Saxonburg Police Chief Gregory Adams in December 1980 during a traffic stop.
According to an affidavit for a search warrant, Webb's ex-wife, Lillian, told investigators he suffered a stroke in 1997 and lost the ability to care for himself. Knowing he was dying, he told her to dig the hole. She buried him after a second stroke.
Lillian Webb doesn't face any charges.
The FBI has said investigators believe Webb died about 17 years ago. Forensics specialists are still working to determine how he died, but the Bristol County District Attorney's Office says there's no evidence pointing to foul play.
The FBI had offered a $100,000 reward for information leading to Webb or his remains, but says the reward won't be paid because the remains were found as part of the investigation.
The affidavit, released Wednesday, says Webb was in Saxonburg to case a jewelry store when Adams stopped him for running a stop sign. It says the chief was shot twice at close range after being beaten on his head and face.
At the time, Webb was a career criminal living in New Bedford, Massachusetts, and was a federal fugitive for a burglary he allegedly committed in upstate New York. He disappeared after the shooting and his rental car was found more than two weeks later at a motel in Warwick, Rhode Island.
The affidavit says investigators believe the Webbs bought the house because it's concealed by a grove of trees. "The investigators believe that the residence ... was purchased and used for the purposes of hiding Donald Webb," it reads.
Last month, Adams' widow sued Webb's wife, saying investigators had recently found the room in her home that Webb used as a hideout.
Investigators said the secret room was the size of a large shower stall. They said that when they initially asked Lillian Webb why she had it built, she said it was a "safe room" intended for herself.