CEDAR CITY – Zealand Adams, 28, of Yakima, Washington pleaded guilty to first-degree felony aggravated kidnapping and second-degree felony theft of a motor vehicle Wednesday morning during a preliminary hearing at the Fifth District Court in Cedar City. Adams was sentenced in Utah, but sentencing was stayed so that he can be extradited to Louisiana to face alleged murder charges.
Adams was booked into the Iron County Jail on April 27, after having been involved in a five-hour-long standoff while holding a 2-year-old child hostage on Interstate 15, near mile marker 95.
The standoff occurred after an 18-mile high-speed chase, that reached speeds up to 130 mph.
The pursuit occurred after Louisiana Sheriff’s Office and state police notified Utah Highway Patrol that Adams – a murder suspect wanted in Louisiana – was in the Cedar City area after having been tracked down via GPS.
During the preliminary hearing Wednesday morning, Adams was concerned about $16,263 dollars that was confiscated by authorities at the time of his arrest.
He said that he would not plead guilty unless the money was returned. This action was not granted seeing as it is in evidence and will be handed over to Louisiana authorities.
Adams still pleaded guilty and was sentenced to one to 15 years in the Utah State Prison and a $10,000 fine. The sentencing was stayed, and he was placed on probation while having to serve 365 days in the Iron County Jail with early release to Louisiana authorities, where he will answer to his alleged murder charges.
“We’ve worked in conjunction with Louisiana to facilitate his extradition,” Scott Garrett, Iron County Attorney said. “We wanted to hold him accountable for what he did here in Utah, but also get him back there as soon as possible so that he could face the murder charges.”
Because of having pleaded guilty, charges were reduced.
“That is why we let him plead to some reduced charges and put him on probation, bench probation basically so he could go back to Louisiana and face the charges there,” Garrett said.
Trooper Clay Allred of the Utah Highway Patrol and first responder to the high speed chase and standoff was happy about the outcome.
“He’s done some bad things down in Louisiana, he’s allegedly killed someone,” Allred said, “and for us to be able to capture that kind of guy and assist the agencies (in Louisiana) is a great success for us.”
Louisiana authorities have been made aware of the preliminary hearing outcome in Cedar City and are making arrangements to transport Adams.
- Child used as human shield in Sunday standoff
- I-15 Standoff comes to an end, VIDEO of surrender; STGnews Photo Gallery
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