A transient man pleaded guilty today to second-degree murder of a fellow transient in 2000, according to the Placer County District Attorney's Office.
Michael Elijah Adams is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 15 for killing 46-year-old John Semler Owens, whose body was found on a gravel service road in Roseville on Jan. 21, 2000, according to a news release from the DA's office. Owens had suffered blunt force trauma to his head.
Early in the investigation, police identified a suspect who gave the name Michael A. Thomas. Police later learned his real name was Michael Elijah Adams, but were not able to find him, the release states.
In 2004, detectives submitted DNA evidence from the scene to the national DNA database, but no matches were made until 2010, when Adams was arrested for robbery in San Bernadino County. His DNA was collected and entered into the system, and criminologists funded by a Placer County cold case grant made the match to Owens' death, according to the release.
Adams was again arrested in May of that year, and Roseville detectives ultimately traveled to Oregon to question him. They later obtained an arrest warrant and took him into custody.
"This conviction would not have been possible without the grant funding and collaborative work of law enforcement agencies throughout the western states," prosecutor Doug Van Breeman said in the release.