By: Beth Sergentbsergent@heartlandpublications.com
October 23, 2012
POINT PLEASANT — A trial date has been set for the man accused of shooting and killing Rene Gonzalez in Gallipolis Ferry last year.
Steven L. Adkins, 26, Apple Grove, is set to go to trial at 9:30 a.m., Dec. 11 in Mason County Circuit Court. The trial date was set after Adkins appeared in Mason County Circuit Court last week before Judge David Nibert. Upcoming hearings on the case were also scheduled for 10 a.m., Oct. 26 and 10:30 a.m., Nov. 21.
Adkins was indicted last January for the Gonzalez murder along with Matthew C. Woods, 25, Gallipolis Ferry and Chad W. McCallister, 31, Apple Grove. As previously reported, Woods agreed to plead guilty to a lesser charge, second degree murder, which basically removes the deliberate element of first degree murder. He also agreed to cooperate with the prosecution by providing “truthful testimony” in relation to the alleged roles of Adkins and McCallister in the Gonzalez murder.
During Woods’ plea hearing, Mason County Prosecuting Attorney Damon Morgan summarized the state’s evidence against him, noting Woods had been accused of being a part of planning a conspiracy, along with Adkins and McCallister, to rob Gonzalez. Woods was also accused of driving Adkins to Gonzalez’s Gallipolis Ferry home where Adkins allegedly shot the victim twice with a .410 shotgun. During his summary, Morgan also stated prior to Gonzalez’s murder, there was an alleged dispute involving McCallister, his ex-wife Ashley Edmonds and Gonzalez. Morgan said Edmonds and Gonzalez share a daughter, and the dispute had to do with the care of the child.
The trials of both Adkins and McCallister are set for Dec. 11. Though the men share the same trial date, they were granted separate trials by the court months ago. Mason County Circuit Clerk Bill Withers said it’s not uncommon to have several, separate trials scheduled for the same day, for example, there are multiple trials scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 24 in circuit court.
The state is asking for a minimum sentence of 10 years in prison for Woods. Nibert referred the case to county probationary officers for a recommendation on sentencing, scheduling that sentencing for 1 p.m., Dec. 10 in Mason County Circuit Court, one day before the trials of McCallister and Adkins are to begin.