POINT PLEASANT — The man accused of shooting and killing René Gonzalez in 2011 is expected to appear before Judge David W. Nibert on Thursday to enter a plea.
According to the official court docket filed in the office of Circuit Clerk Bill Withers, Steven L. Adkins, Jr., 27, Apple Grove, is expected to appear before Nibert at 12:30 p.m. Adkins was expected to go to trial on Feb. 18 after many continuances and delays.
Adkins has been fighting charges since his arrest - he was booked into the Western Regional Jail on Oct. 6, 2011. Adkins was indicted in January 2012 for murder and conspiracy and has pleaded not guilty. Also indicted along with Adkins for the murder, Matthew C. Woods, 27, Gallipolis Ferry and Chad W. McCallister, 32, Apple Grove. Both Woods and McCallister have since accepted pleas. McCallister pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in December 2012. Woods pleaded guilty to second degree murder, also in 2012.
During Woods’ plea hearing, then Prosecuting Attorney Damon Morgan summarized the state’s evidence. Morgan said 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, according to Morgan.
At his plea hearing, Woods said he didn’t know Gonzalez but knew of him when he drove Adkins to Gonzalez’s home. He said Adkins was out of his sight when he heard two gunshots. Woods then said Adkins came back to the car and indicated he had killed Gonzalez. Woods and Adkins then went back to McCallister’s residence, telling McCallister what had happened, according to Woods.
Trial dates for Adkins have been postponed for many reasons, including the appointment and replacement of a special prosecuting attorney. The first special prosecutor was Putnam County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Sorsaia with the second, and current special prosecutor being Chris Chiles, the prosecuting attorney in Cabell County. There have also been counsel changes granted in this case for the defense as well.
On Monday of this week, Chiles was appointed to an open judgeship in the Cabell Circuit Court by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin. Chiles will replace Judge David Pancake who left the position due to retirement.
It’s not known how Adkins will plea on Thursday and there is still the possibility no agreement will be reached.