Minutes after Billy Ray “Tank” Minkley Jr. was sentenced to life in prison for killing three people in Fort Worth, the brother of one victim said it wasn’t nearly enough.
“You get three meals a day and no hard labor,” said Joe Adams, quoting his father from a written statement. “You deserve the electric chair or hanging.”
Adams is the brother of David Adams, who was shot and killed by Minkley on May 28, 2014, at a west Fort Worth home. Also gun downed were Ronney Jackson and his common-law wife, Elizabeth Bernard Sessums.
Minkley Jr. had faced the death penalty but agreed to a sentence of life in prison without parole.
Minkley, 44, confessed to the Fort Worth shooting while he was in the Young County Jail, where he was being held on accusations of killing a young mother in Graham.
Minkley was also accused of renting a backhoe to bury the body of Leah Martin, 22, outside of Graham on the night of May 29, 2015. Two other men — including the paternal grandfather of Martin’s two-month-old daughter — were arrested in Martin’s murder, which shook the town about 90 miles west of Fort Worth.
Her body was found in a grave outside of Graham in August 2015.
Elton Carroll “E.C.” Blair was found not guilty of murder earlier this month at a trial in Breckenridge, according to texhomashomepage.com. Blair owned EC’s Auto Shop in Graham, where Martin had worked. Blair’s son had dated Martin for several years and was the father of her child. During testimony, it came out that Blair also had a sexual relationship with Martin.
A trial is pending for the third man, Ross Hellams.
In September, Minkley pleaded guilty to Martin’s killing and received a life sentence.
But while in jail for Martin’s murder, investigators learned that Minkley had been talking about a triple slaying in Fort Worth that had occurred a year earlier.
The trio were found dead inside a house that Jackson and Sessums shared in the 200 block of Sunset Lane in west Fort Worth. Investigators believe they were slain on May 28, 2014, almost exactly a year before Martin was killed.
‘Never far from my mind’
Fort Worth homicide Detective Kyle Sullivan had begun investigating Minkley as a possible suspect in late August after learning that an informant might have new details on the case.
“If not for that arrest, this case may have never been solved, at least not as quickly,” said David Alex, Tarrant County prosecutor.
Members of the Adams family were present at the hearing and made a statement in Minkley’s presence.
Joe Adams, 55, of Springtown said his father could not travel because of health reasons. Adams said his father was not happy with the life sentence.
Outside the courtroom the mother of David and Joe Adams, Kathleen Hood, 80, said she is constantly thinking about the son she lost. David was friendly, well liked by his neighbors. He was a man who just seemed to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, Hood said.
“It’s never far from my mind,” Hood said. “I had two sons. Now I have one and a bad memory.”
Hood said it was always her fear that she might not live to see the process through.
“I’m no spring chicken, and I wanted to see someone brought to justice,” Hood said.
Girlfriend provides details
Sullivan and Detective Tom O’Brien met with the informant from the Young County Jail in 2015 and found out that Minkley used to live with Jackson and Sessums on Sunset and had allegedly had a property dispute with the couple.
The informant told investigators that Minkley and his girlfriend left town shortly after the triple homicide.
Sullivan and Detective M.D. Green met with Minkley’s girlfriend on Sept. 1, 2015.
She told the detectives she and Minkley had gone to the house on Sunset to obtain some property they had been storing there. She said she stayed in the car while Minkley went inside.
The girlfriend told investigators she soon heard what sounded like a car backfiring twice before Minkley emerged from the house. Minkley told her that Jackson had pulled a gun on him — so he shot him.
Minkley then gunned down Adams and Sessums as she tried to call police, according to what the girlfriend told police.
The girlfriend told investigators Minkley then told her to come inside the house, where she saw the three dead bodies. She said she and Minkley then retrieved items from the house that belonged to them.
Sullivan also later interviewed Minkley’s father, who told the detective that his son had confessed to him in a Sept. 1 phone call from the Young County Jail that he had killed three people in self-defense.
This article contains information from Star-Telegram archives.