Interview with UGA grad student's murderer

Updated: May 22


Winford Trey Adams Benjamin Lloyd Cloer UGA crime uga murder athens-clarke county accpd crime gun violence classic city news
Winford Terrell Adams

By Joe Johnson

Three years ago, Trey Terrell Adams was a deputy with the Madison County Sheriff's Office.

Today, the 36-year-old former Comer resident is serving a life sentence at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification State Prison after pleading guilty to murdering 26-year-old University of Georgia grad student Benjamin Lloyd Cloer, with whom Adams wrongly believed was having an affair with his wife.

Benjamin Lloyd Cloer

. Athens-Clarke County Superior Court Judge Lisa Lott sentenced Adams in accordance with a plea agreement he made with the Western Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office.

In exchange for pleading guilty to felony murder and aggravated assault, the DA’s office dismissed charges of malice murder, first-degree home invasion, and two counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime.

Prior to making the plea bargain and his sentencing, Adams underwent questioning by Athens-Clarke County police Detective Paul Johnson.

The detective filed the following report about his interview with Adams, and the killer's wife, Charlotte Adams:

(Publisher's Note: certain personal information concerning uninvolved parties have been redacted from this story)

“I came in to assist with this case. I interviewed the suspect Winford “Trey” Terrell Adams. REDACTED 362 Lord Fleming Rd Comer Ga).

He said he is currently living at 576 Berea Church Rd in Commerce because his house at 362 Lord Fleming Rd is under renovation.

“I read him Miranda and he agreed to speak with me.

He gave me some of the background that led up to the events of this evening.

He said he met his wife, Charlotte in high school.

“He said when they first started dating, she had friends that used drugs. He said she used meth and accidently used heroin in the past. This was in 2007 or 2008. He said that there is always someone “terrible” in her life.

“He said that she stayed out all night once and told him she was at a male’s house playing video games all night. He said that they had a big fight afterwards and he cried at work and they had to call EAP (Employees Assistance Program).

“He said after he got hired at the Statesboro Police Department sometime around 2015, he was at a clinic offered to employees and his wife asked to speak with the nurse alone. Charlotte later told Trey he should get tested for Chlamydia.

She ultimately told Trey she got raped at the house where she was playing video games.

He said he always believed she was lying about her playing games. He stopped to say that he hoped the victim was doing ok.

He considered killing himself after that revelation, but Charlotte’s pet rabbit showed him an unusual amount of affection which led to changing his mind.

“He said that he told Charlotte that she had to leave that life behind and that they had to get married or he was going to break up with her. They got married.

He told me that he left the Statesboro Police Department after a couple of stressful incidents. One was a child who had drowned, another was several large parties with no back up that almost led to him being attacked.

He said he never had a whole lot of friends.

He said when he found out his father had died he backed up his car, got stuck in a ditch and couldn’t get out. He had a break down at work over this.

He said he moved to this area and lost contact with his Statesboro friends. He didn’t think anyone at his current job liked him much. He said that Charlotte had an app on her phone that allowed him to find her, because she would often get lost and it helped him give her directions.

He said that they had established rules if Charlotte was going to go out such as no drinking and she was not to be associating with other men.

Trey said the week before Halloween his wife went out with friends. He said she stayed out all night and the GPS indicated she was at the house on Jefferson Road where this incident occurred. Charlotte said she was only there for about 10 minutes, but he saw she was there about two hours.

"He said she was supposed to be with girls, but Charlotte ended up drunk at that guy’s house and fell asleep. She told Trey that (an) Uber picked her up about 10 minutes later although he saw she was there for a while.

He said Charlotte left her car somewhere near an apartment complex downtown and he had to tow the car home because there was no one to help him drive it.

She said nothing happened that night, but she was acting like she did the last time she was unfaithful.

“Trey said he stopped seeing his therapist. Trey said he has been diagnosed with PTSD and severe depression. He said that this evening his wife told him she was going to eat with some people from UGA, where she works who are involved with artificial intelligence.

Trey said he looked at her location and because he wanted her to bring something back for him to eat.

He saw she was at the same house on Jefferson Road from Halloween night.

“He stopped to say that he felt terrible and he should not have done this tonight. He said there was no intention of doing this.

He said he drove by to see if there were other cars there and he saw Charlotte’s car and only one other.

He said that he drove past the house six or seven times. He finally parked and thought “this is wrong”, but he needed to be sure as she has never been “straight”. He said he was going to look in a window and see if a lot of people were around a table. He wanted to see if one car picked up many people. He wanted to see if she was with a group of people or with just one person.

“Trey said that he didn’t want Charlotte to see him if he was wrong about her as he did not want to seem like he was jealous or crazy.

He said he walked around the house and saw them through a window on the front porch. He saw they were lying on the couch clothed, but the victim had his arms around Charlotte.

He said that he opened the door, which was unlocked, and they both jumped up with a “deer in the head lights look”. He said he wanted to yell at both of them.

He said Charlotte told him ‘He’s just a friend, He’s just a friend.’ He told her ‘You don’t do that with friends.’ He said that he forgot he had a Glock 19 on his side.

He said the jeans he was wearing were sitting by the door and the gun is always in the holster on those pants. He does this in case someone begins to kick in his door or if there is trouble outside and he has to get dressed in a hurry. He said he put these pants on as he went out the door.

“He said the guns in his truck were ‘not for tonight.’

He said for the last three weeks he has been trying to work up the courage to kill himself.

He said two were guns in the truck he considered using to kill himself and the others were guns he enjoyed shooting and he wanted to shoot them before shooting himself.

“Charlotte started to say stuff and everything went into slow motion and he had no control over any of it. He said he drew the gun and pointed it at them. They were on the couch to the left of him and he was a few steps into the house at this point.

Charlotte was screaming at him and he couldn’t recall what she was saying. He said that she started to grab at him and he pushed her away because he was afraid the gun would go off because she was clawing at him.

He said that he may have pushed Charlotte down and held her down. He wasn’t sure if he put his hand around her neck.

Trey said that ‘he bolted,’ meaning the victim.

He said that two or three rounds went off as the victim ran out the front door.

Trey said that he shot him while he was running away. Trey said that his arm was out and he didn’t really aim.

He said he had no physical confrontation with the victim. He said he pulled the gun and the victim ran.

He said that it scared him and it was like he had no control over himself.

He was inside the house when he shot the victim.

Trey said the victim was shot with the Glock 19 he had on his hip.

He shot out the window of his truck because Charlotte pulled his hoodie off while they argued and the keys were in the hoodie. He said he broke the window of the truck by shooting it and then punching it, He said he did not have his knife with a glass breaker on the end.

He said he went to his truck because he felt bad. He went to the truck to get the shotgun because he was going to use that gun to kill himself. He got his Smith & Wesson because it had a light on it. He needed the light to try to find and help the victim because he felt terrible and he heard the victim running and yelling, but he decided to not approach him.

He said that he called people he cared about before he killed himself. He called his friends Jody and Patrick from Statesboro Police Department. He called Madison County and spoke with Lt Ring.

He said while he was in the house and making the calls he saw condoms and lubricant on the bed. He believed this was because Charlotte was there.

Adams was arrested, charged with murder and taken to the Clarke County jail. On 11/11/19 I signed an arrest warrant with Judge Makin.

Sonny Wilson, the coroner, said the victim will go for an autopsy.

I searched the suspect’s car using the warrant that Detective Franco wrote.

Some guns were seized, but there was nothing located in the car that was otherwise useful. These guns were not used in the crime. There were two rifles and three pistols.

“I spoke with Charlotte Adams.

She explained she called the victim Lloyd while his family called him Ben.

Charlotte gave me her mother’s phone number REDACTED

Charlotte said that she was afraid that if Trey got a bond he would kill her.

She said Trey was trying to get away from her as they fought in the house. He suddenly stropped struggling and she thinks Lloyd might have got out of the door and then came back inside, maybe to help her. She said that Trey’s eyes changed and he stopped fighting her. He seemed like he was refocusing.

Lloyd said ‘shit’ and the gun went off. Trey shot several times. She said that she wished Lloyd didn’t come back and let Trey kill her instead.

She said Trey called her a cheating bitch and he saw her as he watched them through the window.

She said that Trey told her he would kill himself in the past.

She said they have had no physical domestic violence issues in the past.

She said Trey set up rules saying she can’t drink at all but he has allowed her to have one beer.

She asked him once if she needed a curfew. Trey said yes, she did. He never told her what time the curfew was.

He said she could not talk to any other guys. Not at work, on messenger or in any other way.

She said Trey set up the rules to keep her safe.

She said that she was at Lloyd’s house for just 15 minutes that night. She said they were talking about Trey and she asked Lloyd to hug her because she was upset about the issues she and Trey were having.

She said they were on the couch for about three minutes so she doesn’t believe Trey watched them for very long through the window.

She said over the years Trey would get very mad when any of her male friends would hug her.

She said that she thought Trey could be dangerous and her friends told her that she shouldn’t put up his rules.

She said that he pointed his gun at her friends before and threatened to kill them. She said this it was Bee and Shawn

She said the incident with Bee and Shawn was 8 or 10 years ago and Bee and Shawn were fighting and Trey pointed the gun at one of them to keep the other from using a rock to hit the other. This did not appear to be a case of jealousy, but defense of another.

I asked how long they have been married and she said they knew each other in high school, but got married in June of 2016 or 2017. She wasn’t sure when.

She said that in October of this year after the Wild Rumpus parade she went downtown with friends and she lost her car because she isn’t good with directions. She said she had two mixed drinks which was more than Trey’s rule of no drinks and her compromise of one beer.

She said she asked Lloyd if he would give her a ride to her car. She thought it was on Hull Street, but she couldn’t find it so Lloyd told her to come to his house and get an Uber home. She said she stayed at his house long enough to download the Uber app, lay down for about five minutes and then wait for the Uber ride to get there. She estimates she was there for only a few minutes. Trey believed she was there for several hours that night. She said she and Trey argued about this after the Wild Rumpus parade.

She said she was afraid of Trey and slept with the door locked and had even considered sleeping in the closet. Due to different sleep schedules, they keep different bed rooms.

She said Trey fired his therapist after the therapist made him cry.


Trey and Charlotte Adams

“I got the 911 calls from central communications.

Trey told 911 he was at 6340 Old Jefferson Road and said that he shot someone. He said he caught his wife cheating and he shot the guy. He said the guy ran away and he was about to go look for him. The call taker told him to stay where he was. He said that he intends to kill himself. He said he can’t go to jail for the rest of his life. A gun shot can be heard on the call and the call taker asked Trey if he shot a gun. He said he did. He explained that he shot out the window of his truck. He told the call taker that he would not hurt any of the police. Trey asked if the victim called in and asked if the victim was OK. He said he thought the man was next door and called out into the air, ‘If you’re there, I’m sorry’ He told Charlotte, in the background he always loved her even if she didn’t love him.

Charlotte called in to 911 and said that Trey pulled a gun and shot her friend. She did not speak much to the call taker. She asked if she could leave and then briefly seemed to be talking to Trey. She can be heard crying and screaming but it is not clear what she is saying.

“On 11/12/19, I checked with Forensics on the download of Charlotte’s phone. She had consented to have it downloaded, but the download was encrypted and forensics was unable to open the download. Charlotte provided numerous possible passwords, but none of them worked. Charlotte agreed to come in and get her phone re-downloaded.

Charlotte explained she would regularly delete her messages and other content to keep Trey from seeing them.

“I spoke with the victim’s father, Steven Cloer REDACTED. I introduced myself and told him to feel free to call with any questions. He suggested I speak with Megan Holman who was a good friend of the victim.

Called Megan Holeman REDACTED she said she texted Lloyd in the afternoon before this happened. She said that he did not mention Charlotte specifically. He said he seemed a little nervous but it was probably about spending time with a new person and hoping it would go well. She said she didn’t know if he was nervous about Charlotte.

She did not think Lloyd would ever provoke anyone to do such a thing.

Steve Cloer visits the Grand Canyon with son, Benjamin Lloyd Cloer

“In Lloyd’s phone there are Facebook messages with Charlotte that go back to September. On September 23 Charlotte says to Lloyd that he makes her happy.

On September 24 she asked if he wants to get dinner some time. He responded “sure”

On September 26 Lloyd tells her he is having a party the next day and asks if she wants to go Charlotte replies ‘gasp I do’

Charlotte asked about bringing a girlfriend of hers that Lloyd had an interest in.

At 10:10 PM she sent a text saying she is coming over.

At 11:58 PM she sends a message about a beer fest which suggests she is home and not at Lloyd’s house.

On September 28 she asked if she could come by. Charlotte sent a heart emoji at 8:38 PM

At 9:52 PM she told him goodnight. If she went to Lloyd’s it was not for long considering diving time.

She asks a couple of other times if she can come over and suggests they cook food together,

She called Lloyd a good friend.

On October 10, they talk about Trey and Charlotte tells Lloyd that Trey needs a counselor and he has stopped hugging her.

On October 12, she asks Lloyd if he will go to the mountains with her. She said some of her girlfriends won’t go and doesn’t know about others. He said that they could organize a trip to the mountains and said the only way to find out if her girlfriends would go is to ask them.

On October 13, she offers to bring her pet rabbits to Lloyd’s house and she said she would wait until Trey went to work.

They also talk about other girls Lloyd is interested in and how he should ask them out.

October 15, she asks if he will help her dye her hair. He said he would.

On October 17, she asks if they can cuddle for about 10 minutes the next time she comes over. He said ‘Okay!’

She responds with a heart and “goodnight sweetheart”

On October 26, she met Lloyd with friends downtown. On October 27 she said that Trey is really mad at her and yelled at her for a long time. She said she hopes he will leave her alone and if not she might get a cheap hotel or sleep outside in a tent.

She said Trey was mad because Lloyd drove her to his house. She said that Trey does not trust her and that she almost caused him to kill himself over something that was ‘wwwaaayyy worse that does not compare to this’ She said he was mad she didn’t post any pictures while downtown.

She went on to say that she and Trey’s relationship was tense and he would not speak with her. She said she was sad and tired she said she felt like a prisoner.

On November 2, Charlotte said her friend Noemi was planning a mountain trip soon. On November 3, she wrote she realized Trey switched to the day shift and she will not be free in the evenings. She said she asked Trey if she could go to the mountains and he said if she is she planned on drinking he wanted to be there. She said “nope ha-ha” She said she would go for the day but have to leave at night. Charlotte said she could not do something until Trey goes back to night shift.

On November 3, she said that it isn’t fair that Trey seems to say she can only have girlfriends. She said she is beginning to believe she is in an abusive relationship.

On November 6, she says she doesn’t know “how to get her freedom back” and that she will talk to him about letting her have “friends of any gender”

On November 10, at 5:09 PM Charlotte she asked Lloyd what he was up to.

He said cooking ribs waiting for a girl to message him (not Charlotte) He invited her for ribs. She said the ribs sound good. At 5:38 PM she said she was on the way.

The first 911 call came in at 6:48 PM.

On 11/13/19, I got the 911 calls from Madison County.

Trey called in to their 911 center and asked to speak to the Lt or Gatty ‘right now’

He yelled ‘I’m sorry’ and asked if they would sit there and talk to him. There were sirens in the background. He said its 638(his radio number) “I’m sorry. I shot a guy. I’m sorry, I love you all. It’s been an honor”. You can hear Charlotte and sirens in the back ground. Trey called back and said that his wife was cheating on him and he confronted them and he shot the guy.

The CD is in evidence.

I spoke with Patrick Webb of Statesboro PD. Trey called him after the shooting to tell Webb that he loved him, that Charlotte was cheating on him and that he shot someone. He said he intended to kill himself. Webb told him not to and then the line disconnected.

Webb is at REDACTED

11/14/19

I met with the victim’s family. They stressed how much Ben’s murder affected them.

I went to the jail to ask for Trey’s phone code. He said he had an attorney and wanted to clear that with him first.

I spoke with Doug Morgan, roommate at REDACTED and Walker Argendeli REDACTED.

Doug said that Lloyd had multiple girlfriends and he expected them to have multiple boyfriends. He said that Lloyd was always meeting someone new and he does not recall meeting Charlotte.

He never mentioned having any problems or being worried about any problems with jealous boyfriends or husbands.

I spoke with Walker Argendeli. He was a good friend of Lloyd. He did not believe he ever met Charlotte and did not recall Lloyd ever talking about Charlotte.

I watched the Axon video from Lt. Jason Ring of Madison County who is Adams’ lieutenant. He came to the scene to help make sure Adams did not shoot himself. Adams had his hands in the air and Ring walked to him, took the shotgun from the railing in front of Adams and a pistol from his pocket.

Adams told Ring that he shot the victim with a Glock 19 that is on the ground near his truck.

He said that he grabbed the other pistol because it had a light on it and he wanted to find the victim to make sure he was ok “because it shouldn’t have fucking happened”. He said he grabbed the shotgun because “I wanted to kill myself”

He said he never felt the “heat of the moment feeling before” until now and it felt like he was numb and he “blacked out”. Trey told Ring he doesn’t recall shooting the victim and just remembers hearing booms and seeing blood.

Trey said he thought about killing himself three times over the last few weeks. He had the shotgun in his mouth at one point, he had obtained a bunch of pills and he intended to take them, slit his wrists, then shoot himself and also hang himself all at the same time to make sure he died.

He said tonight he was going to go in and yell at him and but he was so mad.

He said he should have shot himself.

He said that his wife told him that they were just friends, but he saw condoms on the bed.

He said on the night of Halloween he came home and his wife’s car was not there. She had gone out and got drunk

He said that years ago his wife had “shitty friends” who used drugs. She was a pot head and she had tried meth

Adams said that one of her friends gave her some heroin in a water bottle once several years ago. He told his wife that she had to cut ties with her friends.

Adams said that there was a female friend his wife had and his wife and her friend ended up at a house where there were a bunch of guys. He said she went over a few times and then suddenly stopped. He said that about a year later while at the doctor, his wife spoke with the doctor and then she told Trey that she had Chlamydia and that she suspected she was drugged and raped the night she was playing video games.

Tray interrupted himself several times to say he was sorry and wanting to know if the victim was ok.

He said that he was police in Statesboro and he had a lack of back up there and that he was always concerned about the lack of back up. On one occasion he was dispatched to a park where they found a child in a lake, He tried to save him, but was not able to do so.

He said his father died and he had a break down while on duty at a domestic after getting his car stuck in a ditch and no one could come help get him out.

He said he wasn’t aiming and he just shot.

On 11/21/19 I saw that an e-trace had come back on the guns in Adams’ car. One of the guns a Mossberg 590 was originally purchased by Statesboro PD. I spoke with Statesboro Police and they told me that they no longer carry shotguns in their vehicles and that they sold their shotguns to their officers. They confirmed Trey Adams bought the Mossberg from them. It is no longer their property.

I wrote a search warrant for Trey Adams’ phone and gave the search warrant to forensics so that they could begin the process of searching the phone.

I spoke with Charlotte. She gave me numbers for friends who have had interactions with Trey.

I got numbers for Bee, Ryan Evans and Cody Rogers.

Charlotte clarified a few questions I had. She said she and Lloyd were sitting on the red couch in the dining room which was to the left of the front door.

The violin belonging to Lloyd was on the living room couch and was broken. Charlotte did not recall it getting damaged, but said she could have fell into it when Trey pushed her.

“Charlotte said she had a friend named Nikki Ruckstrough whom Trey hated and a said that he would shoot her if he ever saw her again. This was about seven years ago and she was at Nikki’s house when she had her blackout and cheated on Trey. She said that Trey never told this to Nikki. He said this just to Charlotte.

She said she talked to her friends and Ryan and Bee never felt threatened by him, but Cody said that Trey threatened his brother Stew.

Charlotte came to PD and dropped her phone off to be re-downloaded.

The download worked this time. Charlotte had an iMessage chat from Trey in her phone.

‘Where are you going for dinner? I might want something. This message was sent on 11/10/2019 at 6:33:22 and it was read 13 seconds later. Charlotte did not respond

At 6:42:17 Trey sent ‘Ok... guess not’ at 6:48:39 Charlotte opened the message.

The first 911 call came in at 6:48:42

Otherwise, there was not much else useful on her phone.

Google maps indicates it is an 18–20-minute drive from Trey’s home in Commerce to the scene. This suggests that Trey sent the first message as he was leaving his home or shortly after he began to drive to the scene.

I got Trey’s criminal history there was nothing on it aside from the murder charge. I called Bee at REDACTED left message.

I called Ryan Evan REDACTED left message.

I called Cody Rogers at REDACTED. He said 10-15 years ago they were at his birthday party. He never liked being around Trey. Trey made a comment about Cody’s brother because he saw a photo of Charlotte hugging his brother. Trey didn’t like anyone who was friendly with Charlotte. He said Trey said something like I would have shot him or he would put Cody’s brother down. He said Trey always carried a gun.

He said Trey always had a bad temper and he recalled Trey chasing a car and kicking it one time when the car drove too close to him.

He said Trey did not like people hanging out with Charlotte.

He said that he doesn’t know of any similar issues people have had with Trey, He said Ryan and Bee might be able to corroborate his story, but he does not know of any incidents they had with him.

I released Trey’s keys to his cousin so that they could secure his belongings. Tommy Bolton REDACTED

I called Ryan and Bee and left a message

I obtained a search warrant for Trey’s Phone and turned it over to forensics to download the data.

In reviewing that data, I saw images that were likely to be child pornography.

I wrote a new search warrant for the entire contents of the phone, not just a specific time frame as had previously been requested.

I also saw in the application usage log from the phone download that he used the apps as follows:

REDACTED

After executing the search warrant for the entirety of Winford’s phone I identified 758 images that showed individuals who appeared to be under the age of 18 with some appearing significantly under the age of 18. Some images depicted just nudity which would be classified as child erotica while others depicted children engaged in sex acts.

Some of the photos are clearly screenshots from a website and thus were intentionally saved.

These photos show a time, a battery percentage and signal strength in the photos. The time created metadata matches the time on the screen shot.

I sent those images to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The password for the encrypted file is REDACTED

I will let NCMEC determine which photos are children and if there are any identifiable victims. The District Attorney can then decide which photos to make charges on.

All case evidence not attached to LERMS will be on a USB drive submitted to evidence room.

The suspected child pornography will be available for inspection on the original phone download stored on the forensics computer.”


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