Wilmington man convicted in shooting that paralyzed teen

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Gregory Adams
Gregory Adams

A Wilmington man was sentenced to 20 years in prison in connection with a shooting that paralyzed a 15-year-old boy in August 2012.

Gregory Allen Adams, 32, was convicted Thursday on charges of attempted first-degree murder and possession of a firearm by a felon in the shooting of a New Hanover High School student, according to a news release from District Attorney Ben David.

The 15-year-old victim was shot five times in the back on Aug. 23, 2012, David said. The defendant and the victim were neighbors and had engaged in a conversation with each other that morning in a neighborhood on Campbell Street in Wilmington.

Witnesses testified that the victim had begun to walk away from Adams when he shot the victim in the back, David said. Adams testified he was acting in self-defense.

The bullets damaged the victim’s spinal cord, David said, paralyzing the victim from the neck down.

“The perseverance of the victim is inspiring,” Assistant District Attorney Connie Jordan said. “He was just a kid when he experienced this crime and the love and support of his family and friends have meant everything.”

The investigation showed that Adams was reportedly high on PCP at the time of the shooting, David said.

According to the N.C. Department of Corrections, Adams was previously convicted of felony possession of a firearm on a campus, felony possession of a schedule II controlled substance and misdemeanor possession of a firearm by a minor in November 1999.

The jury rendered their verdict in about two hours following a three-day trial in New Hanover County Superior Court. David said the State was pleased with the jury’s verdict and sentence in the case.

“One day Mr. Adams will get out of prison but this victim will never get out of his wheelchair,” David said. “No amount of punishment can match the misery brought about by this senseless act of violence.”