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South Point man found guilty of aggravated murder, kidnapping

Sentencing set for Thursday morning; state recommended life

A South Point man on trial for charges of aggravated murder, kidnapping and tampering with evidence was found guilty on all three Wednesday in the courtroom of Lawrence County Common Pleas Judge Charles Cooper.

Russell Adkins, 38, of 197 County Road 1, South Point, was accused of causing the death of Larry Scott Stephenson on or about Dec. 1 or Dec. 2, 2017, along with co-defendant Brandy N. Miller. Miller was the girlfriend of Stephenson.

Adkins allegedly assaulted Stephenson unconscious before he and Miller drove him to an abandoned house, tied his hands and feet together and left him there until deputies found his body days later.

“The state recommended a life sentence without the possibility of parole,” Lawrence County Prosecutor Brigham Anderson said.

Anderson added that the state called up a total of nine witnesses during the trial, including lead detective Aaron Bollinger, of the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office, as the key witness, as well as three Lawrence County Sheriff’s deputies, three Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation agents, his co-defendant Miller, and another co-defendant in the case, Amanda Chapman.

Earlier this year, Miller was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 20 years for her role in the crime. Chapman was also sentenced for her role earlier this year.

Anderson was representing the state in the case, while defense attorney Roger Smith represented Adkins. Sentencing is set for around 11:15 a.m. Thursday morning in Cooper’s courtroom.