First-degree murder and other charges were filed Monday against a Palm Desert registered sex offender accused of fatally slashing his 1-year-old daughter before throwing her off a cliff in the mountains south of the Coachella Valley.
Adam Slater, 49, was arrested Thursday night in connection with a sequence of events the previous day that included a spate of separate stabbing attacks culminating in a rollover car crash on Highway 74 near Pinyon Crest, where he allegedly threw his daughter over “a steep cliff into a ravine,” according to Riverside County sheriff’s Sgt. Ben Ramirez.
Slater also faces a sentence-enhancing allegation of using a knife in the commission of a murder, along with a special circumstance allegation of committing a murder during the commission of a kidnapping, which makes him eligible for the death penalty if the District Attorney’s Office decides to pursue it.
Slater is also charged with attempted murder, assault on a child under 8 years old resulting in death, assault with a deadly weapon and resisting arrest.
Slater, who’s being held at the Indio jail in lieu of $1 million bail, is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday afternoon at the Larson Justice Center in Indio.
According to the sheriff’s department, Wednesday’s series of events began about 14 miles from the crash site in the 41000 block of Washington Street, outside the Southwest Community Church in Indian Wells, where deputies responded to a stabbing call about 8:30 a.m. that was described as a “domestic violence incident.”
Deputies located an injured woman who was taken to a hospital with non-critical injuries, authorities said.
KESQ reported that Slater and the woman — who was six months pregnant at the time of the attack — were married, and the year-old daughter was theirs together. The woman was treated for multiple stab wounds and is recuperating at home, the television station reported.
Following the attack, Slater allegedly sped away in a vehicle with the child. Deputies learned soon afterward that a rollover crash reported about 9 a.m. on Highway 74 around six miles south of Palm Desert could be connected to the original call.
According to sheriff’s officials, passing motorists attempted to help Slater and his daughter escape the wreckage, but he allegedly stabbed one man attempting to help rescue his daughter.
“The suspect then took the girl from the arms of the male he stabbed. Multiple witnesses saw the suspect take the child and throw her over a steep cliff into a ravine,” according to a sheriff’s statement.
The child died from her injuries at the scene, officials said.
It was not clear whether the child was already dead prior to being thrown off the cliff.
Sheriff’s officials declined to share additional information about the incident, citing a need to “to protect the case, suspects and victims,” sheriff’s Sgt. Deanna Pecoraro told City News Service.
Slater ran down into a canyon, where deputies detained him after a short foot chase, and he was taken to a hospital for treatment of injuries connected to the crash, according to the sheriff’s department.
Slater was discharged from the hospital the next day and arrested shortly afterward.
It was unclear if the man he allegedly stabbed required medical treatment.
Slater was in violation of the terms of his parole, according to California’s Megan’s Law website. He was convicted in 1995 of sexually penetrating a victim with a foreign object by force and served about two years in state prison before being released in 1997.
The website did not provide specifics about his parole violation.