More than eight months ago, Lexington police had placed under surveillance the house on Shaker Run Road where three men were gunned down Tuesday afternoon.
Police began monitoring the house in April, shortly after they learned Donald L. Adams Sr., 57, had moved there from Suburban Mobile Home Park, off Price Road. Investigators had received complaints about a high volume of vehicle and foot traffic near his residence there, according to court records.
When police searched the house at 2169 Shaker Run Road on April 20, officers found marijuana, bottles containing various pills, drug paraphernalia, more than $15,000 and several guns, according to court records. Adams was charged with trafficking marijuana and pain pills. He was awaiting trial.
On Tuesday, Adams, his son, Donald L. Adams Jr., 33, and Ronnie Sparks, 28, became victims of what police called drug-related killings.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Lexington Herald-Leader
William Lee "Willie" Blancet is charged with three counts of murder.
Tuesday's shootings not only were the city's first killings of 2011, but they were the latest in a string of violent crimes since mid-December.
At least one other shooting was said to be drug-related.
Blancet, 41, of Lexington told detectives he "shot all three" men, according to a police report. The report said Blancet admitted taking drugs and money from one of the victims and later disposing of evidence.
Lt. James Curless, who spoke to reporters during a news conference Wednesday, said the four men "were associated through drug-related activity — illegal drug-related activity."
Court records show Blancet lived at 235 Fairdale Drive, across the street from Adams Sr.'s former residence.
Investigators say a relative of one of the dead men called police at 3:55 p.m. Tuesday after finding the three men inside the home in Gleneagles subdivision near Man o' War Boulevard and Interstate 75. Shaker Run Road is a quiet street of brick and vinyl-sided two-story homes
Curless said there were two children, ages 2 and 4, in the home at the time of the shootings. They were not injured.
The younger Adams was pronounced dead at the scene. His father and Sparks, possibly of Nicholasville, were taken to University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital, where they died, deputy coroner Shea Willis said Wednesday.
The bodies were to be taken to Frankfort for autopsies, Willis said. The police report indicates all three men died of gunshot wounds.
In addition to murder, Blancet, who is being held at the Fayette County jail, is charged with first-degree robbery, tampering with physical evidence and first-degree possession of a controlled substance (oxycodone), according to police reports.
Blancet appeared before Fayette District Judge Julie Goodman on Wednesday afternoon. He pleaded not guilty to all charges. A preliminary hearing was set for Tuesday. The judge set bond at $300,000 on each murder charge.
Both Adamses have lengthy criminal records in Lexington, according to court records.
Adams Sr. was out of jail on bond, awaiting trial on his most recent drug charges, court records say.
In April, Adams Sr. was charged with trafficking in a controlled substance within 1,000 yards of a school, trafficking in a controlled substance and being a felon in possession of a handgun. A grand jury indicted him in June on eight charges, including trafficking in marijuana, oxycodone, hydrocodone and alprazolam; possession of drug paraphernalia; being a felon in possession of a firearm; and being a persistent felony offender. He was scheduled to be in court Jan. 21 for a status hearing.
Adams Sr., who was convicted of two felony marijuana charges in Fayette County in 1998 and 2006, had diabetes and suffered two strokes while on probation after his 2006 conviction, according to court records. He could not walk long distances and could not stand for long periods, according to a probation and parole report.
Donald Adams Jr. pleaded guilty in 1999 to first-degree possession of a controlled substance (cocaine), trafficking in marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia, according to court records. In 1995, he entered an Alford plea to at least one count of sexual misconduct; he initially was charged with four counts of first-degree sexual abuse. In 1996 he was convicted of two counts of second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument in Jessamine Circuit Court.
In March, Adams Jr.'s mother, Christine Jones, asked Fayette Circuit Court to order her son to pay child support and obtain health care coverage for his four children.
In January 2003, Donald Redmon, Adams Jr.'s father-in-law, wrote to Fayette Circuit Judge Rebecca Overstreet, saying he had seen Adams Jr. beat his daughter unconscious twice — once in front of their 4-year-old daughter, who was recovering from cancer surgery that involved removal of a kidney. Redmon told Overstreet that his daughter was terrified of her husband and that Adams was a drug abuser and trafficker, records say.
The killings were the latest in a rash of violent crimes since mid-December.
■ On Dec. 18, Rocardo Cole, 29, was found in the parking lot of a strip club and later died at University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital.
■ On Dec. 23, a man was shot in his car outside Fox Run Apartments. The man, who was not identified, was treated at UK Hospital.
■ On Dec. 27, a woman was injured after her car crashed into a utility pole near Jefferson and Fourth streets. The woman, who has not identified, had been shot, apparently in connection with a drug deal.
■ On Dec. 28, police found the body of Kerry "Sam" Mitchell in his apartment at North Limestone and West Fifth Street. The death is being investigated as a homicide. The cause has not been released.
Despite three deaths in one day, Lexington police spokeswoman Sherelle Roberts said, the city is "still pretty well on par for what our homicide numbers have been in recent years." There were 19 homicides in 2010, 18 in 2009 and 16 in 2008.
Roberts said Lexington has only a fraction of the homicides that Nashville, Cincinnati and Louisville see each year.
She also said the circumstances of the three deaths were not unusual in that most homicides occur among people who know one another or because someone has placed himself or herself in a dangerous situation.
"Even though these all may have come seemingly at one time, they are still pretty close to the criteria that we normally see," Roberts said.