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Drive-by shooting suspect sentenced

| February 27, 2024
Riley Adams, 20, of New Philadelphia, appears in Tuscarawas County Common Pleas Court to be punished for his role in a drive-by shooting in New Philadelphia last October and an armed robbery four months earlier. (WJER Radio)

NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) (Feb. 27, 2024) – The driver in a shooting case out of New Philadelphia will be serving at least 13 years in prison for his involvement in that incident and an armed robbery he was accused of committing with one of the victims. 

Riley Adams will be in his mid-30s by the time he gets released and will then spend another 24 months to five years on parole. Tuscarawas County Common Pleas Court Judge Michael Ernest handed down the punishment earlier today/Tuesday and urged Adams to use his time behind bars wisely.

“No one is trying to sugarcoat it here that it’s a bunch of positives to it. That’s just silly to say that. But we also know of people who’ve gotten high school degrees, college degrees while in there, picked up a trade, learned a skill so that when they come out, they’re able to the extent that they can hit the ground running.”

Adams’ co-defendant in the robbery case is Hunter Mast, the apparent target of the October 23rd drive-by shooting that happened while was standing on the front porch of a home along East High Avenue. Six others are charged in that case including the alleged gunman, 19-year-old Gavin Kurtz. County Prosecutor Ryan Styer says some believed that Mast snitched on Adams for the robbery while others had a romantic interest in his live-in girlfriend at the time.

“Two of the other co-defendants, either before or after this incident, had relationships with her as well, and so there was an element of jealously, I think, fueling this.”

Adams was facing up to 24 years in prison between the two cases before entering into a plea deal and admitting to the six counts against him, which included felonious assault and attempted murder. His public defender summed things up.

“I don’t think this was much of a plan other than a bunch of stupid young kids drinking and playing with guns got angry with a gentleman that they considered a friend at one point.” 

Kurtz remains in the county jail on a hundred thousand dollar bond and is due back in court for a pre-trial hearing on March 26th.

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