A career criminal is wanted for murdering a Pennsylvania police chief.

Donald Eugene Webb

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CASE DETAILS

Age progressed sketch of Webb

Saxonburg, Pennsylvania, is a community in the truest sense of the word.   Everyone knows everyone else and crime is virtually non-existent.   But on December 4, 1980, 16-year-old Tiger Freehling heard gunshots and the sounds of a fierce struggle outside.   Midge Freehling recalled how her panicked son ran down from his bedroom:

“He came down and he said, ‘Mom I heard someone shooting outside’. And I said,’ Tiger, don’t say that because you know it’s hunting season’.   He said no, somebody was fighting and shooting.   So I went out the door and I looked and I saw someone laying in the bushes.”

Midge was horrified to discover her friend, Saxonburg police Chief Greg Adams, covered in blood:

“And he said I’ve been shot, help me.   And I said who did this to you and he said he didn’t know.   So then I just happened to look up our driveway and I saw a white car pull away.   I didn’t see the man that was driving it, I just saw a figure.   And I said you’ll be okay, you know, you’ll be fine.   And he said no I think you better pray for me.  I don’t think I’m going to make it. I think he knew that he was dying.”

He pulled a gun and killed Chief Adams

Within three minutes, paramedics arrived.   Adams was rushed to the hospital.   He had been shot twice and beaten severely.   31-year-old Greg Adams left behind a wife, two young children, and a grieving community.   Within hours, the State Police had arrived at the murder site and soon made an important discovery. Greg appeared to have been shot in the middle of a routine traffic stop.   According to Corporal Danny McKnight of the Pennsylvania State Police, a driver’s license had been left at the scene:

“It’s our belief that it came out of Greg’s hand when he was shot.   The other piece of evidence at the scene was the gun that was used to shoot Greg, and it was empty.   And void of any serial numbers.   It was untraceable.   We still have yet to trace the gun to see where it came from.   But the operator’s license with the name Stanley John Portas on it and a date of birth and an address in New Jersey was a piece of physical evidence that without that, we have no idea who shot Greg Adams.”

Police immediately traced Portas’ whereabouts to a cemetery in Dartmouth, Massachusetts.   According to Corporal Danny McKnight, he had been dead for 32 years:

“We did our background on Stanley John Portas and found out that he had a wife and when we contacted her, we found out that she was married to a subject named Donald Eugene Webb and Donald Eugene Webb had totally taken on Stanley John Portas’ identification.”

The name on the license: Stanley Portas

Donald Eugene Webb was already a familiar name to law enforcement.   He was a member of the “Fall River Gang,” a group that robbed stores and homes up and down the Eastern seaboard.   Police believe that the day before the shooting, Donald Webb and an accomplice had visited a Saxonburg jewelry store.   According to Corporal McKnight, Webb asked to see some rings:

“They were observing where the jewelry was kept, how it was kept, the location of the alarm systems, how many employees.   What do I need to get in to this place and get out undetected?”

The next day, Greg Adams was working his final shift before taking his annual vacation.   At approximately 1:45 PM, he left the station.   For Gordon Meinhardt and the rest of the Saxonburg Police Department, it would be their colleague’s final patrol:

“Witnesses tell us they last saw Greg on Water Street, heading towards the intersection of Butler Street when they, as well as Greg, observed a white Mercury Cougar not stop for a posted stop sign.   This caught Greg’s attention immediately.   He pulled a u-turn on Water Street and proceeded after the white Cougar.   Greg losing sight of the vehicle upon coming around the turn, probably wondered where the white vehicle went and at that point spotted the white Cougar attempting to turn around in the Agway parking lot.   He then immediately blocked the white Cougar in.”

But Portas had been dead for years

Most police officers are trained to approach a traffic stop from the rear.   However, due to the positioning of the cars, Greg Adams could not make that type of stop.   Adams had to approach that vehicle from the front.   According to Corporal McKnight, Adams was in a bad position:

“If Greg had the New Jersey driver’s license in his hand, he’s scanning that immediately for the vital information, date of birth, does it match the person he has stopped.   I believe, at that point in time, Webb got the drop on him.   He’s hit twice, the blood trails on the ground indicated there was one heck of a struggle there and Greg actually shoots with his gun.   And that struggle took them a long way to the Agway parking lot, back to the Midge Freehling residence where they were found.   Of course Greg is a tough little competitor.   But he looses his gun to Webb and the gun’s empty and Webb just beat him with the gun.”

Webb used the alias “Stanley Portas”

 

On December 8, 1980, Greg Adams was laid to rest in a funeral attended by fellow officers from all over the state.   The town of Saxonburg has erected a monument to commemorate Greg’s life.   On this monument, a grateful town has inscribed a “thank you” to a man who gave his life protecting their community.

UPDATE: The remains of Donald Eugene Webb have been found on the property of Webb’s ex-wife, Lillian Webb. Investigators believe he died approximately 17 years ago. We will bring you more information at a later date.

 


Watch this case now on Amazon Prime in season two with Robert Stack and in season 8 with Dennis Farina. Also available on YouTube with Dennis Farina. Various seasons available now on Hulu.

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10 Comments

  1. T. f

  2. Petaa motex

    Heard this guy had his identity stolen by a homeless person. I bet he is dead and that is sad.

    Reply

  3. blake

    there is a Donald webb buried in the libby mt cemetary

    Reply

  4. Mr

    Having been on the Ten Most Wanted list for 25 years, 10 months, and 27 days, Webb was removed from the list on March 31, 2007, replaced by Shauntay Henderson. He was on the list longer than any other fugitive before Víctor Manuel Gerena, who surpassed his record in 2010. Although Webb is still a fugitive who is considered armed and dangerous by the FBI, significant lack of leads has made some investigators believe Webb is deceased.

    Reply

  5. kathy tangrine

    Hope they kill the SOB when they find him!

    Reply

  6. fixed matches

    Hey there owner of unsolved.com. Great site. I think you should be little more strict with the comments.

    Reply

  7. wimpymacho

    Was Donald Eugene Webb (D.E.W.) limping at the time you picked him up ?

    Reply

  8. Gary Browning

    I picked up Don Webb in Nowata OK about 20 years ago.. About 3 days later unsolved mysteries featured him. When I contacted the FBI I Got a smart ass young FBI Agent who stated every time they run one of those programs they got a a zillion calls. I followed up with a call to the head of the FBI in Okla.. Several days later two agent showed up at my home.
    they said I was right about the following. It was Don Webb. He was going to OK City as I had stated. His mother lived in OK City.I H e had been born in OK City. I had noticed that his right hand had what appeared to be an altered tattoo in the web of his right hand. At the time I did not recognize the Don in the right hand as it had been altered. When I found his name was Don I understood the tattoo. Take the name Don place antenna on the letter (D) -. Forms the head of an ant or termite. Connect the letter D-O-N at the Top and Bottom. Place three legs on each side. Forms perfect ant. FBI never did change the Tattoo in the palm of the hand. As you know they have-pulled him off the Most wanted list as they deem him probably dead. The altered tattoo-and the unusual triangular shape of his head are the keys to identifying him. He carried to “gunny sacks” made of blur denim – He was dressed all in blue denim. His boots were like a heavy (wellington style) they had a one inch thick sole and a two inch heel lift..

    Thank you:: Gary Browning Ph D Retired Corporate Safety Director

    Reply