Ex-Georgia deputy pleads guilty, gets life sentence for killing UGA grad student

Winford “Trey” Terrell Adams entered a guilty plea Monday morning and was sentenced to life in prison in the death of University of Georgia graduate student Benjamin Lloyd Cloer.

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Winford “Trey” Terrell Adams entered a guilty plea Monday morning and was sentenced to life in prison in the death of University of Georgia graduate student Benjamin Lloyd Cloer.

A former Madison County sheriff’s deputy entered a guilty plea Monday morning and will spend the rest of his life in prison for fatally shooting a University of Georgia graduate student in 2019.

Winford “Trey” Terrell Adams, 34, pleaded guilty in an Athens-Clarke County courtroom to felony murder and one count of aggravated assault in the death of 26-year-old Benjamin Lloyd Cloer, court records show.

In addition to life in prison, Adams was given 10 years for the aggravated assault charge.

The shooting occurred in November 2019 after Adams believed Cloer was having an affair with his wife, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution previously reported. Officers responded to the 6000 block of Old Jefferson Road about 6:45 p.m. and found Cloer shot multiple times, Athens-Clarke police said.

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According to previously released 911 calls, Adams immediately called for help and admitted to dispatchers that he shot the college student, who was pursuing a master’s degree in artificial intelligence.

“I just shot somebody,” Adams said on the call. “My wife was cheating on me, and I couldn’t take it. I didn’t shoot her, I shot the guy. I couldn’t stop myself.”

Adams did not know the extent of Cloer’s injuries while on the call since the man ran away after being shot, the AJC reported. The 911 operator told the deputy to put his gun down and wait for police to arrive. Adams then threatened to kill himself, telling the operator he was a deputy.

“I can’t go to jail,” he cried. “I can’t. I’m sorry ... Tell Athens-Clarke County I’m not going to hurt any of them, but I can’t go to jail.”

Toward the end of the nearly five-minute call, Adams asked dispatchers if they received a call from Cloer and if he was OK.

“If you’re there, I’m sorry,” he could be heard yelling, presumably to the man he had just fatally wounded. “Oh my God ... I did shoot him. I see him. I see blood on the steps.”

The deputy’s wife also called 911, telling authorities her husband had just shot her friend. In the background of that call, her husband could be heard telling her, “I always loved you, even if you didn’t love me.”

Adams was taken into custody at the scene and fired from the Madison sheriff’s office, where he had been employed since August 2018, the AJC reported. He was off duty and in plain clothes at the time of the incident, police said.

Before going to Madison, he was employed for a few days by the Royston Police Department and four years with the Statesboro Police Department before that.