Local News

Chapel Hill Teen Sentenced for Mom's Shooting Death

Posted February 8, 2008

— Adam Sapikowski pleaded guilty Friday to second-degree murder in the April 2005 shotgun slaying of his mother, and was sentenced to up to 25 years in prison.

The Chapel Hill teen already faces between 19 and 24½ years in prison for his father's death. Friday's sentence of 247 to 306 months will be served at the end the previous sentence.

Investigators said the bodies of James Sapikowski, 52, and Alison Powell Sapikowski, 49, had been in their Chapel Hill home for weeks before police discovered them wrapped in blankets behind a barricaded door on May 13, 2005.

Both had been shot several times at close range with a .410-gauge shotgun, police said.

Sapikowski claimed he killed his parents in self-defense. His attorneys said James Sapikowski had threatened his son with a bat and that physical and emotional abuse had provoked the shootings.

The teen also claimed that an argument over a girlfriend and grades led to the murders.

Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall said Friday that a report card spattered with James Sapikowski's blood was found in the house.

The shotgun used in the slayings was found packed in a car in the garage, along with camping gear and other items that made it look like Adam Sapikowski intended to flee the area, Woodall said.

Sapikowski attended his junior prom after the slayings, neighbors told authorities that he hosted an after-prom party.

Woodall said the teen told anyone who asked about the strong odor in the house in subsequent days that some food had spoiled in the refrigerator.

Sapikowski's sister, half-brother and aunt read statements Friday before sentencing to express their grief over the two slayings.

"Since I've been deprived of my parents by Adam's actions, I define myself by one word: orphan," Lauren Sapikowski said. "There isn't a day that goes by that I'm not reminded of my being alone."

Chris Sapikowski choked back tears as he recalled his father playing basketball with him and his friends and teaching him life lessons along the way. He said he doesn't know how to explain to his young daughter why she never got to meet her grandfather.

"How could such a senseless act destroy two wonderful, giving and supportive people?" said Pamela Powell, Allison Sapikowski's sister. "We will be forever tormented by the cruel and senseless way that you left this world. There is a deep sadness that is beyond repair. We've lost a part of ourselves, and the pain is incredibly huge."

Adam Sapikowski rested his head on a table in the courtroom as he listened to his relatives. His attorney, Rosemary Godwin, rubbed his back to comfort him.

Last month, Sapikowski pleaded guilty to felony obstruction of justice and agreed to plead guilty to killing his parents. The plea was structured in parts so he would have a felony conviction on his record when he was sentenced for each killing, allowing Fox to impose a stiffer prison term, authorities said.

He has already spent nearly three years in jail.


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  • computer trainer Feb 8, 2008

    They sentenced him separately on the two counts, because had they sentenced him all at the same time, the terms would have run concurrently. This way, he does one sentence and THEN the other one starts. The other way, he would have gotten out earlier.

  • Dr. Dataclerk Feb 8, 2008

    Thanks WRAL, I understand.

    angora2: I don't remember his name, but there was a man who killed some people a while back. He is still in the mental hospital in NC. This man even went on and had children by an employee while still incarcerated at the hospital. He been before the parole board several times but he is still there and not getting out. So don't play this as a game.

    jp534: Since he did not dispose of the bodies and just left them there wrap up in blankets etc. then I guess he will be considered insane. If he was sane like you and me he would have had the commong sense to dispose the bodies. But he did not. We will have to watch the news closely and see what happens to this young man. Giving him life in prison without parole is going to literally kill him any way. A sad situation with no mother or father there for him. All because he admitted he took their life.

  • jp534 Feb 8, 2008

    OK. I realize that I'm not qualified to make a judgement regarding this young man's sanity. But I can consider whether his actions appear to be sane to me. I can make no judgement related to the murders themselves. But wrapping the bodies up in a blanket/carpet and just leaving them there doesn't seem sane to me. It never occurred to him to get rid of the bodies?

  • angora2 Feb 8, 2008

    Oh boy ... next time if do something bad, I can always claim having heard voices. Seems to work.

  • ifcdirector Feb 8, 2008

    I sure hope no one ever assaults me or kills me even if I happen to be in Chapel Hill...... That place has a history of letting criminals plead insanity and giving permanent room service to the worst of their criminals.

  • Dr. Dataclerk Feb 8, 2008

    I for one is not defending the young man. But what seems to be the all American family, many times is not. I do know there are three sides to this story. I remain that the truth will come out. I was not there and neither none of you.

  • UpwardlyMobile Feb 8, 2008

    He should get more time. He killed his parents and then partied...

  • casp3r Feb 8, 2008

    Got to love some people. One day they are solving crimes on here, telling us who the murderer was or why the crime happened. Then the very next day, pointing their finger at all of us telling us not to judge people. This kid left his dead parents rolled up in sheets or a carpet while he had people over to the house. Stop feeling sorry for him.

  • Dr. Dataclerk Feb 8, 2008

    The young man said he was being defensive. I don't know his story. But parents can be abusive, beating on you, emotionally putting you down, etc. A person can take but so much. Of course drinking alcohol can be a big factor in the homes where the person don't think no body knows. My mother was like that. She's gone now and I certainly do not miss the abuse and beatings. There a lot to this young man's story that has yet to come out. I just know many parents are not perfect in every sense of the word.

  • Dr. Dataclerk Feb 8, 2008

    Pardon, but none of you are certified to say what his mental state is;unless you are a doctor in that particular field. Judge not that you not be judge. Remember, while you are judging him the Lord is judging you. I am glad to know you have never made a mistake in your life-time. But I am here to tell you no one is perfect, not even you. :) How about letting the experts determine his mentality and the courts decide his fate of crime in killing his parents.