Beunka Adams Put To Death For 2002 East Texas Murder
By KENNETH DEAN Staff Writer
HUNTSVILLE -- Moments after Beunka Adams was put to death by lethal injection for the 2002 Cherokee County murder of Kenneth Vandever and shooting of two women, family members of the victims said they want changes in the judicial system that they say makes those involved victims again and again.
Vandever and two women were abducted during a Rusk convenience store robbery and taken to a pea patch just north of Alto in 2002.
One of the female victims, Nikki Ansley, was raped before then 19-year-old Adams and co-defendant Richard Cobb shot all three, leaving them for dead.
The two women survived, but Vandever died at the scene.
Prior to his death, Adams asked for forgiveness and said he hoped the families would find some type of closure. However, he said killing him was not the answer.
"Trust me, killing me is not going to give you closure. I hope you find closure. Don't let that hate eat you up, find a way to get passed it," he said as he laid strapped to the gurney in the death house at the Walls Unit.
Adams, who was married last week by proxy, said he did not want his family to worry about him.
"First I want to say let my mom know not to cry, there is no reason to cry, everybody dies. Everybody has their time, don't worry about me, I'm strong," he said.
Adams also said he was a stupid kid who made "a great many mistakes."
Again speaking to his family, Adams said he came into the world strong and would go out strong.
"Warden, go ahead," he said, and the warden nodded to the mirrored window where those administering the lethal combination of drugs were waiting.
As he took a deep breath, Adams said before he went silent, "I'm sorry for the victim's family, murder isn't right. Killing of any kind isn't right. Got to find another way."
After checking Adams' vitals, the doctor called time of death as 6:25 p.m.
Vandever's father and stepmother were joined with Ms. Ansley and her family for a press conference a few moments later.
Quietly, Donald Vandever said the death didn't really change anything.
"It was way too easy for him. I'd like to have seen some of the pain he inflicted upon Kenneth and Nikki, but it's not going to bring Kenneth back," he said.
Ms. Ansley, a nurse, said though her career has her helping save lives she did not feel compelled to even consider the possibility as she watched Adams die.
"It was a feeling of I didn't want to help him. He asked for forgiveness and I can forgive him, but he had to pay the consequences. It's never going to be an end, just an end to this chapter," she said.
When asked if Adams' death was too easy, Ms. Ansley said, "Kenneth didn't get a chance to say goodbye to his family. ... I think everybody in America would like to go like that."
The Ansley family said they have to go through the process one more time with Cobb, but they said their fight to change the system would not end.
Melinda Ansley, Nikki's mother, said that for 10 years her family has had to deal with the pain from the night of the shooting, and in that decade untold documents were filed to save Adams' life.
"We had a jury, and they decided..." she said.
She continued saying victims need more rights, and those condemned to die should see their punishment quicker.
"Something has to be done about this. Our system needs a lot of work," Mrs. Ansley said.