POINT PLEASANT — The three men accused in the July 2011 murder of Rene Gonzalez in Gallipolis Ferry will go to trial but not together.
According to the latest filings in Mason County Circuit Court, Chad W. McCallister’s trial is set to begin at 9:30 a.m., Sept. 25, while the trial of Matthew C. Woods is slated for 9:30 a.m., Oct. 9. Woods also has a pretrial hearing scheduled for 10 a.m., Oct. 1.
In regards to Steven L. Adkins, Jr., the man investigators allege as Gonzalez’s shooter, his case has been moved to the September term with a hearing slated for 9:30 a.m., Sept. 6. There are no current filings in the Adkins case indicating a trial date has been set at this time.
All three men were originally set to face a jury in one, joint trial in April, which then got pushed to July. However, subsequent motions to sever the cases from being tried together were granted and now the new dates, at least in the cases of McCallister and Woods, have been set.
The separate trials come as no surprise and at a hearing this spring, individual counsel for the three men each indicated their clients would make such a request. Mason County Prosecuting Attorney Damon Morgan had previously stated he was ready to try the men together.
As reported last year, according to the criminal complaint, McCallister, Woods and Adkins were together at McCallister’s Apple Grove residence on or around July 11, 2011, where they allegedly discussed, planned and entered into a conspiracy to rob Gonzalez at his residence.
Woods allegedly drove Adkins from McCallister’s home to Gonzalez’s residence with the intent to carry out the planned robbery. Upon arrival, Adkins is said to have shot Gonzalez twice. Following this, both Adkins and Woods fled the scene and returned to McCallister’s home. Investigators have alleged a personal animosity between McCallister and Gonzalez based upon McCallister’s ex-wife having had a long-term relationship with Gonzalez.
All three men have disputed the state’s charges, pleading not guilty and mounting separate defenses to take their cases to a jury which will decide their fate. The three men are currently in custody at the Western Regional Jail.