MASON COUNTY —The trial of a man accused of shooting and killing a Gallipolis Ferry man in 2011, has been moved from March to June.
The trial of Steven L Adkins, Jr., 26, Apple Grove, has been continued from March 19 to 9:30 a.m., June 10 in Mason County Circuit Court. Adkins is accused of shooting and killing René Gonzalez, a charge he has pleaded not guilty to after being indicted for the crime in January 2012.
The motion to continue the trial was made by Special Prosecutor Mark A. Sorsaia, who is also the Putnam County Prosecuting Attorney. Sorsaia was appointed to the case on Feb. 14 which meant he had only a little more than a month to prepare for the murder trial. Sorsaia’s motion cited his recent appointment and the looming court date as reasons for requesting the continuance.
The continuance was granted by Judge David W. Nibert this week during a status hearing on the Adkins case.
Sorsaia was appointed after a request was made last year to disqualify the Mason County Prosecuting Attorney and his staff from the Adkins case by then Prosecuting Attorney Damon Morgan. Judge Nibert granted the motion back in December and filed a request for appointment of a special prosecutor with the West Virginia Prosecuting Attorney’s Institute, also back in December.
The reason cited was to avoid any conflicts of interest. As reported earlier, Adkins was originally charged with murder and conspiracy in the Gonzalez case along with Matthew C. Woods, 25, Gallipolis Ferry and Chad W. McCallister, 31, Apple Grove. New Mason County Prosecuting Attorney Craig Tatterson was appointed to represent Woods last January when he was a private attorney. Tatterson asked to be removed from Woods’ case to avoid any possible future conflicts of interest and another attorney was appointed last year.
Adkins remains the last defendant in the Gonzalez murder who has not gone to trial or accepted a plea. Both Woods and McCallister have since accepted plea agreements. Woods pleaded guilty to second degree murder last year and was sentenced to a definite term of 10 years with the department of corrections by Judge Nibert. McCallister pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and was sentenced last month to 10 years with the department of corrections, also by Judge Nibert.