MASON COUNTY — The trial of of Steven L. Adkins, Jr., has been rescheduled for November.
According to the latest filings in Mason County Circuit Court, the trial has now been set for 9:30 a.m., Nov. 12 with a pretrial hearing at 9:30 a.m., Oct. 28. The new dates were scheduled after a hearing on Monday before Judge David W. Nibert.
Back in July, the Point Pleasant Register reported Elizabeth Sunyog, former co-counsel for Adkins, accepted a position as an assistant prosecuting attorney with the Putnam County Prosecutor’s Office. The Putnam County Prosecuting Attorney is Mark Sorsaia who was also the special prosecutor appointed to the Adkins trial.
The court became aware of Sunyog’s new position back on June 28. Nibert approved Sunyog’s motion for withdrawal and Sorsaia was also released from the case.
On this week’s court docket, Attorney Chris Chiles was listed as the new special prosecuting attorney with Attorney Bryan Cromley listed as Adkins’ co-counsel along with Attorney Bryan Escue.
Adkins, 27, Apple Grove, stands accused of shooting and killing René Gonzalez at his Gallipolis Ferry home in 2011. His trial was set to start this past Monday in Mason County Circuit Court but presumably due to the issues with assigning a new prosecutor and co-counsel, the trial was moved again. Before that, the trial was to go in June, and before that March, but delays involving Adkins’ request for new counsel and the original appointment of Sorsaia as special prosecuting attorney occurred.
Sorsaia was appointed as special prosecutor back in February 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 in January 2012 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 was indicted in January 2012 for allegedly shooting and killing Gonzalez and has pleaded not guilty to the crime. As previously reported, 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 to 10 years with the department of corrections, also by Judge Nibert.