MASON COUNTY —After many delays, including the appointment and reappointment of a special prosecuting attorney, the trial of a man accused of murder is still slated to go on Nov. 12 in Mason County Circuit Court.
According to the latest court papers filed in the office of Mason County Circuit Clerk Bill Withers, State v. Steven L. Adkins, Jr., is still scheduled to go to trial at 9:30 a.m., Nov. 12 with a pretrial hearing slated for 9:30 a.m., Oct. 28. Of course, this is subject to change.
Attorney Chris Chiles is the most recent special prosecuting attorney appointed to the case. Judge David W. Nibert requested a new special prosecutor be chosen by the West Virginia Prosecuting Attorneys Institute which recommended Chiles who is the prosecuting attorney for Cabell County. The previous special prosecutor in the case was Mark Sorsaia, prosecuting attorney in Putnam County.
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 shooting death of René Gonzalez along with Matthew C. Woods, 25, Gallipolis Ferry and Chad W. McCallister, 32, 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.
Then, 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 - Sorsaia’s office. Nibert approved Sunyog’s motion for withdrawal and Sorsaia was also released from the case.
There was also a delay when Adkins requested a change in counsel. Currently, Attorney Bryan Cromley is listed as Adkins’ co-counsel along with Attorney Bryan Escue.
Adkins, 27, Apple Grove, stands accused of shooting and killing Gonzalez at his Gallipolis Ferry home in 2011. He was indicted in January 2012 for the crime and has pleaded not guilty. He is being housed in the Western Regional Jail.
As previously reported, Adkins remains the last defendant in the Gonzalez murder who has not gone to trial or accepted a plea.