He was just convicted of murder. Now Byron Adams tells investigators about the day he gagged, then suffocated a Dixon woman.
After 3 years, the mystery surrounding why Margaret Atherton was killed is revealed. Now the Atherton family has more closure and investigators have more answers.
"Unfortunately, while we had a confession and a very solid case, the one thing that was really unclear was the motive," said Dixon Chief Dan Langloss.
That's no longer the case. Right after being found guilty of first degree murder, Adams' makes an unexpected move.
It was the first time investigators say they've seen Atherton's killer show any kind of emotion.
"He pretty much was resolved and was beaten down with the verdict. It was at that point that the note was handed over to our table," said lead investigator Clay Whelan.
That note was the gateway to Adams' motive. He and his defense met with investigators in a closed room. In detail, Adams told how his need for gas money led to Atherton's senseless murder.
Dixon police chief Danny Langloss says this motive will come into play as the court prepares his sentence.
"There's a big difference between going to a house of someone you allegedly have a relationship with and seeking somebody out and hunting them down and going in at gunpoint and brutally killing them."
But as Langloss says, this is not time to celebrate; more of a time to reflect.
"It's really a huge weight lifted off of everybody's back and the ability to move forward now in their lives and in our lives. It's been a really tough few years."
Adams' sentencing is set for some time in November.