Donald Eugene Webb
A career criminal is wanted for murdering a Pennsylvania police chief.
DOB: 7/14/28 or 7/14/31
Weight: 165 lbs.
Defining Characteristics: Has two distinctive tattoos, the name “Don” on the web of his right hand and the name “Ann” on his chest
The name on the license: Stanley Portas
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."
But Portas had been dead for years
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."
Webb used the alias “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."
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."
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.
Donald Eugene Webb is 5'9" and weighs 165 pounds. He has brown eyes and may also have a beard. Webb has two distinctive tattoos, the name "Don" on the web of his right hand, and the name "Ann" on his chest. He is considered armed and extremely dangerous.