By: Beth Sergentbsergent@heartlandpublications.com
September 10, 2012
POINT PLEASANT — One of the three men charged in the 2011 murder of Rene Gonzalez of Gallipolis Ferry was in Mason County Circuit Court Monday, though his scheduled plea didn’t materialize.
K. Hughart, attorney for Matthew C. Woods, 25, explained to Judge David Nibert, his client was not prepared to enter into a plea “as of yet.”
Hughart went on to explain he and Woods were still in negotiations with the Mason County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office concerning a possible plea. Hughart also said he was having difficulties reviewing discovery items with Woods who is housed at the Western Regional Jail.
Hughart said most of this evidence is on electronic devices which are not permitted in the jail when the administrator is not on duty and that is only from 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday. Hughart asked the court to intervene and allow him access to Woods, along with the electronic devices and evidence, during hours other than those mentioned. Nibert said the court would take action to allow Hughart access to his client. Also, during Monday’s hearing, Hughart said Woods, had been “beaten up” in the Western Regional Jail at some point.
If no plea agreement is reached, at this point, Woods is scheduled to go to trial on Oct. 9 in Mason County Circuit Court. Woods is one of three men accused in the murder of Gonzalez, including Chad W. McCallister, 30, and Steven L. Adkins, Jr., 26.
Investigators allege Woods drove Adkins to Gonzalez’s residence in Gallipolis Ferry for a planned robbery but Adkins allegedly ended up shooting Gonzalez twice. Woods and Adkins then fled the scene. 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.
As reported recently, according to filings in Mason County Circuit Court, McCallister’s trial is set for 9:30 a.m., Sept. 25. Adkins was to be in Mason County Circuit Court Monday via teleconference to discuss forensic evaluation. It was not known at press time what became of Adkins’ hearing or if his trial date has been set.
Sherry Eling, Mason County assistant prosecuting attorney, represented the state at Woods’ hearing on Monday.