POINT PLEASANT — The three men indicted for the 2011 murder of Rene Gonzalez in Gallipolis Ferry were in Mason County Circuit Court on Friday for a pretrial hearing.
At their arraignments last month, Steven L. Adkins, 25, Apple Grove, Chad W. McCallister, 30, Apple Grove and Matthew C. Woods, 25, Gallipolis Ferry, all pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and conspiracy. At their arraignment, Circuit Court Judge David Nibert set a trial date for the three men for April 10.
At Friday’s hearing, Adkins was represented by Attorney Rebecca Johnson, McCallister by Attorney Jeff Woods and Matthew C. Woods by Attorney Craig Tatterson. During the hearing, it was indicated the attorneys may file motions for separate trials as opposed to one trial for the three men. Mason County Prosecuting Attorney Damon Morgan indicated he was ready to prosecute the three men during one trial. Nibert said as it stands now, there is a joint trial set.
Attorney Jeff Woods asked Nibert to address the bill of particulars regarding McCallister and the charges he’s facing. Attorney Woods asked for more clarification on these charges, saying the indictment was broad and that he needed to prepare an adequate defense for his client.
Nibert granted a motion filed by Johnson seeking appointment of co-counsel for Adkins. Johnson cited time constraints in regard to a trial which is quickly approaching and the amount of evidence which needed reviewed. Since there is no public defender in Mason County, Nibert said he contacted the Putnam County Public Defender’s Office and appointed someone from that office.
It was also reported Tatterson had met with Morgan this week for a discovery conference on behalf of his client. Discovery conferences are scheduled for Feb. 15 for Attorneys Woods and Johnson with Morgan.
Morgan was joined at the prosecution’s table by a trooper with the Mason County Detachment of the West Virginia State Police which led the investigation into Gonzalez’s murder. As reported last year, according to the criminal complaints filed by Cpl. B.L. Keefer against McCallister and Woods, the two men along with 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 reported McCallister had a personal beef with Gonzalez with animosity between the two men based upon McCallister’s ex-wife having had a long-term relationship with Gonzalez.
Nibert closed the courtroom at one point for review of certain items of evidence which are not available for public viewing at this time. As of press time it wasn’t known if Nibert reopened the courtroom or if any other motions or discussions were made at Friday’s pretrial hearing.