Two on trial for bar owner’s murder

Brent Dixon (right) and Nicholas Roll (left) are on trial for the murder of bar owner John Adams in an attempted robbery outside the Johnny’s Top Cat Club on May 2, 2010. — PHILADELPHIA POLICE DEPARTMENT PHOTOS

When the two men went to Johnny’s Top Cat Club back in May 2010, it was allegedly with the intention of committing a robbery in order to get money to buy drugs, investigators said.

On Monday June 11, co-defendants Nicholas Roll and Brent Dixon went on trial for the murder of John Adams, 47. Roll, 22, has been charged with murder, conspiracy, robbery, weapons offenses and related charges. Dixon, 32, has been charged with second degree murder, robbery, conspiracy, weapons offenses and related charges. If convicted, both men will face a sentence of life in prison.

According to Captain James Clark of the Homicide Unit, Roll and Dixon both have a history of run-ins with law enforcement.

Adams, who owned Johnny’s Top Cat Bar in the 5000 block of North 5th Street, was critically wounded outside the establishment on May 2 around 10:45 p.m. Eight days later, Adams was pronounced dead and his death was declared a homicide. The entire incident was recorded by video surveillance cameras and showed the victim escorting an employee to her car before being approached by Dixon and Roll. Clark said the victim did everything the defendants asked him to and they still allegedly shot him multiple times.

On Tuesday, May 13 police caught up with Roll’s alleged accomplice, Brent Dixon. On Tuesday, May 25, 2010, Roll, who is from the 2400 block of Turner Street was arrested without incident. He has been charged with murder, criminal conspiracy, robbery and related offenses and is the alleged shooter. Police also recovered a gun from his residence that was tested for ballistics.

Assistant District Attorney Richard Sax said the crime had been a set-up.

Adams’ murder sparked a great deal of community outrage, particularly from other local business owners, who remarked that the business corridor where the bar was located is part of a thriving economic area during the day.

“My father will be missed and remembered,” said the victim’s son, also named John Adams. “He touched the lives of a lot of people, and that was evident by all of the people who turned out for the prayer vigils.”

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