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Man found competent in murder case

Drugs, CCS cases fill docket

A South Point man accused of aggravated murder was found competent to stand trial Wednesday in the courtroom of Lawrence County Common Pleas Judge Charles Cooper after previously pleading not guilty by reason of insanity to the unclassified felony.

Russell Adkins, 38, of 197 County Road 1, Lot 56, South Point, is accused of beating Larry Scott Stephenson unconscious before he and co-defendant Brandy Miller, 34, of Chesapeake, drove him to an abandoned house and tied his hands and feet together on or about Dec. 1 or Dec. 2, 2017. Stephenson was then left at the house, where he died from his injuries, until deputies found his body days later.

Miller previously pleaded guilty to complicity to aggravated murder, an unclassified felony, and was sentenced to life in prison.

Another co-defendant, Amanda L. Chapman, age and address unknown, pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence for her role in the crime, and was sentenced to three years in prison with credit for time served.

Cooper set pretrial for Adkins for Oct. 10, and trial for Nov. 26.

In other cases:

• Michelle Curry, 37, of 101 Wilson Drive, Coal Grove, previously pleaded not guilty to trafficking in drugs (methamphetamine), a second-degree felony, possession of drugs (methamphetamine), a third-degree felony, and possession of drugs (Suboxone and Buprenorphine), a first-degree misdemeanor. Cooper set trial for Sept. 27 and 28.

• Joshua S. Dyer, age and address unknown, admitted community-controlled sanctions (CCS) violations. Cooper extended his CCS one year and ordered him to complete STAR in Athens.

• Heather Hartman, 42, of 2724 Oakview Drive, Ashland, Kentucky, pleaded not guilty to possession of drugs (methamphetamine), a fifth-degree felony. Cooper set bond at $10,000 cash or surety, and set pretrial for Sept. 12.

• Andrew Morrison, 26, of 43 Township Road 1007, Chesapeake, admitted CCS violations. Cooper continued his CCS under intensive supervised probation (ISP), and ordered him to complete STAR.

• Dewey D. Nance, 41, of 466 Private Road 3367, Ironton, previously pleaded not guilty to trafficking in drugs (methamphetamine), a second-degree felony, possession of drugs (methamphetamine), a third-degree felony, and having weapons while under disability, also a felony of the third-degree. He rejected the state’s final offer of five years in prison, and is facing a maximum of 11 years behind bars if found guilty at trial. Cooper set trial for Sept. 27.

• Brittney N. Sparks, 32, of 9 Private Drive 135, Proctorville, pleaded not guilty to complicity to trafficking in drugs, a third-degree felony. Cooper set bond at $5,000 cash or surety, and set pretrial for Sept. 12.

• David S. Whitley, age and address unknown, admitted CCS violations. Cooper continued his CCS and ordered him to complete STAR.

• Jesse Lee Walker, 19, of 1141 County Road 181, Ironton, pleaded not guilty to failure to comply with the order or signal of a police officer, a third-degree felony. Cooper set bond at $15,000 cash or surety, and set pretrial for Sept. 12. He is also facing a CCS trial, which was also postponed until Sept. 12.