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ROMNEY — Young Austin Holmes-Evans will learn his sentence today for murdering his 14-year-old cousin Johnny Adams nearly 2 years ago. 

The 18-year-old faces 10 to 40 years in a West Virginia prison for the death that came from a single gunshot he fired into Adams’ head on the night of July 11, 2020. 

Judge Carter Williams will set the exact number of years. Whatever Williams’ judgment, Holmes-Evans will not be eligible for parole for 10 years. 

The teen may make a statement during the proceedings. Most certainly, members of the family torn apart by the events of that July night will testify about their loss. 

Prosecutor Rebecca Miller detailed the case she had built against Holmes-Evans during a March 21 hearing in which he pled guilty to the 2nd-degree murder charge. The 4 other counts filed against him — burglary, use of a firearm during a felony, kidnaping and concealment of a deceased body — were dismissed.

After the plea hearing, Holmes-Evans was returned to the Chick Buckbee Juvenile Detention Center, but only for 3 days. On his 18th birthday, March 26, he was transferred next door to the Potomac Highlands Regional Jail. 

Miller’s detailing of the case at the plea hearing laid out a death that arose from a teenage argument. 

Holmes-Evans testified at the hearing that Johnny “catfished” him, making contact with Austin on a social media platform by posing as someone else. 

In this instance, Austin said and someone he told corroborated, Johnny pretended to be a girl and talked the then-16-year-old into sending a picture that showed his private parts. 

Johnny let Austin know he had the photo and would send it to people unless Austin bought him an iPhone. Austin agreed, but seethed to the witness about how angry he was. Johnny was to delete the photo.

But when Holmes-Evans said he wouldn’t supply the phone, Johnny said he hadn’t deleted the photo. 

By the next morning, Johnny was dead, shot with a 9mm Glock pistol Holmes-Evans had stolen from a neighbor’s house earlier in the month. 

Johnny Adams came to live with the Holmes-Evans family in March 2020, as the Covid-19 pandemic set in. Adams’ foster parents, Angel and Janis Jaquez sent Johnny from their home in Connecticut to stay with his aunt, Denise Holmes-Evans, her husband, Steve Holmes, and their 6 children in the Holmes-Evans family compound on Boulder Lane in the Hanging Rock Subdivision, less than a half mile north of U.S. 50 off North River Road. 

Steve and Denise lived in separate houses on the property. 

In Hanging Rock, Johnny was reunited with Austin, who had spent the fall semester in West Hartford, living with the extended family and attending Hall High School, where he played football. 

Johnny’s foster mother, Janis, is his great aunt. 

The Jaquezes filed a civil suit in federal court against Denise and Steve, claiming the Holmeses contributed to Johnny’s death. The suit seeks unspecified compensation, but the request for jurisdiction says the matter exceeds $75,000. 

The civil complaint, filed about 3 weeks after Jaquez was named executor of Johnny’s estate, contends the Holmeses were negligent in their supervision of Austin and in allowing him access to a gun and ammunition. 

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