One day into jury selection for her murder trial in a 34-year-old cold case, Saundra Adams pleaded guilty Wednesday to first-degree manslaughter.
Adams was arrested last September after a fresh test of evidence found her DNA on neckties used to strangle Edmund Schreiber, 92, a World War I veteran and Purple Heart recipient, during a break-in June 23, 1983, at his home on Hastings Avenue.
The mother of two, Adams was attending Bryant & Stratton College and working in the college library before she was charged.
The District Attorney’s office reopened the case early last year at the request of homicide investigators.
Investigators believe Adams, who was 17 at the time, acted with someone else in the attack on Schreiber, but an accomplice in the crime has not been identified.
A neighbor and workers at a nearby senior citizens’ center became concerned when Schreiber didn’t show up for lunch as usual. They went to his home and his body was found on his bed, covered with blankets and pillows.
His hands were tied and eight of his neckties were wrapped around his throat to choke him to death.
During Adams’ arraignment last September, Assistant District Attorney Thomas M. Finnerty said the house was ransacked, indicating the break-in started as a burglary, and that a fingerprint found on a dresser in the bedroom matched Adams’.
“The defendant has falsely denied being in the bedroom and being inside the home on multiple occasions,” Finnerty said. “She has never offered an explanation for how her DNA wound up on his ties.”
Her father, Ernest Adams, told The Buffalo News last September that his daughter used to run errands for their elderly neighbor.
“They got her fingerprints because they’re all over the house,” Ernest Adams said last year. “My daughter cleaned the house for him. She’d go get groceries for him. She ran errands for him.”
Adams, 51, faces a maximum of 25 years in prison when she appears Nov. 6 for sentencing.