PHOENIX – A notorious Arizona death row case ended unexpectedly Sunday when a 46-year-old inmate committed suicide.
James Van Adams was sentenced to death for murdering and sexually assaulting a young real estate agent in the Valley about 14 years ago.
3TV’s Mike Watkiss spoke to the family of Michelle Cohen Anglin about Adams’ suicide.
In 1996 this was a high-profile homicide case that rocked the state. A beautiful young real estate agent was murdered while showing a home.
Now the man responsible is dead by his own hand and, according to the victim’s family, that is welcome news.
“There’s evil in the world and know that everyone out there…that you can’t trust everyone,” Cindy Scott.
Valley resident Scott is a woman who can talk with authority about the topic of evil. In addition to being a young busy mom raising two children, Cindy is also a well-respected detective with the Phoenix Police Department.
Fourteen years ago, Cindy’s family was rocked by evil when Cindy’s beautiful younger sister, Michelle Anglin, was brutally murdered as the 22-year-old real estate agent was showing a home to a man named James Van Adams.
He was a convicted sex offender masquerading as a prospective home-buyer.
Cindy says, “It’s horrible and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone but unfortunately the evil is out there and it’s gonna happen to somebody again and they’re gonna have to deal with this.”
It is a heartache that has never left Cindy or her mother Peggy. It was a very high-profile story in the late 1990s that is now back in the news with word that James Van Adams, the man who was convicted and sent to death row for sexually assaulting and killing Michelle Anglin has killed himself inside a cell in an Arizona prison.
Peggy tells 3TV, “This man it’s like one day, one afternoon he took a grenade and threw it in my family and destroyed it and he hung himself.” Peggy goes on, “He strangled her. He got a little bit of what he did to her.”
At her east Valley home on Wednesday Peggy makes no pretense and says she is “ecstatic” over the news of Van Adams.
He was a registered sex offender who had done prison time in California for sexually assaulting another real estate agent before he moved to Arizona, taking the life of Peggy’s beloved daughter Michelle just three months after Michelle’s wedding.
“She was a wonderful girl,” Peggy says. “She walked this earth for 22 years and I enjoyed every moment of it.”