BUFFALO, N.Y. - Saundra Adams maintains her innocence. Her mother is speaking out about the case and why she believes her daughter is not a killer. The 50-year-old Buffalo woman is charged with murder in connection with the death of World War I vet Edmund Schreiber.
Schreiber was strangled and found dead inside his Hastings Avenue home on June 23, 1983. Adams was 17-years-old at the time.
Prosecutors say Schrieber was strangled by someone using his own neckties. DNA from Adams is on the clothing item. Her mother says there is a clear explanation for her daughter's DNA.
"Saundra straightened out his drawers, and his ties. He wore bowties so her DNA is going to be on his stuff," said Shirley Adams. It was a family neighborhood, everyone looked out and took care of the kids and the elderly.
Adams said the victim had problems with his sight. "When the sun was bright, he could see shadows, but if it was dark, he couldn't see anything. He couldn't see his hand in front of his face, so Saundra kept everything straight for him," said the suspect's mother.
Adams lived with her parents and siblings on Hastings, in fact the family still occupies the home which is just a few doors away from where Schreiber lived until his death. He was considered the "neighborhood granddad," said Shirley Adams. "My son used to take his garbage out, he paid him 25-cents a week, I would go to the store for him sometime."
Fighting tears, Shirley Adams said, "the most a parent can say is that they don't think that their child would do something like that, but I know where my daughter was," the night of the killing. She was asleep, along with her siblings, according to Adams.
Ironically, a few years ago, Buffalo Police detectives were questioning people on Hastings about the case and Adams voluntarily gave her DNA, according to her mother.
Saundra's mother wanted to speak out and when asked why police charged her daughter 33-years after the crime, she pointed to politics. "I really believe that Flaherty (the acting Erie County District Attorney), was pulling that straw. I think he was trying to puff himself up to get re-elected, may god have mercy on his soul."
Flaherty told 2 On Your Side, "there's no external motivation, I don't need any other motivation. I can tell you earlier in the year, Buffalo Police Chief Gramaglia did bring me this case because it was one of interest to him and it had been in cold case for a number of years. We acted based upon the evidence, not upon my ambitions and other desires."
92-year old Schreiber was a veteran who was awarded a Purple Heart for injuries suffered in battle.
Shirley Adams says she believes the person responsible for Schreiber's death didn't live in the neighborhood. "In that little microcosm of a neighborhood, everybody knew, this man was blind, he couldn't see you, fight you and he didn't have any money."
Adams speaks with her daughter while she's in jail. She said, "'mommy you just tell them the truth' does not change, it was the truth then, when they talked to me the last time and it's the truth now. I can't tell them anything because I was not there that night."
Adams, a Bryant & Stratton graduate, was working in the school library until her arrest.