Reporting Tony Hanson
Filed underCrime and Justice, Heard On, Local, News, Philadelphia, Syndicated Local, Watch + Listen
By Tony Hanson
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A 23-year-old man has been sentenced to 25 to 50 years in prison for the murder of an Olney bar owner in 2010.
Although the shooting of the defenseless victim was caught on tape, the jury rejected first- or second-degree murder, which would have resulted in a life sentence, and instead returned a third-degree verdict.
Victim John Adams, owner of Johnny’s Top Cat Club on North 5th Street, had performed one last chivalrous act, walking a female employee to her car for safety. But as he returned to the club, he was gunned down during what prosecutor Richard Sax argued was a robbery.
“He shoots him on the ground, and you can see lovely Mr. Adams looking at Nicholas Roll with his arms outstretched, as if to say what, ‘What do you want? You’ve already shot me,’ and goes through his pockets, steps back, and shoots him again.”
The victim’s family, devasted by the murder, was stunned by the third-degree verdict. A sister says it was like he was “murdered again.”
The defense had argued that the shooting resulted from an earlier incident and that Roll was scared because he thought Adams was reaching for a gun. The victim was unarmed.