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UPDATE: Man Sentenced for Role in Mason County Murder

By: WSAZ News Staff Email
By: WSAZ News Staff Email



UPDATE 1/18/13 @ 3:30 p.m.
MASON COUNTY, W.Va (WSAZ) -- Another man is headed to prison in connection with a Mason County murder.

According to court documents, Chad McCallister was sentenced Friday to 10 years in prison for his role in the murder of Rene Gonzalez.

Gonzalez was found shot to death outside his Gallipolis Ferry home in 2011.

According to investigators, McCallister was the mastermind behind a murder-for-hire plot to kill Gonzalez.

Two other men were charged with being involved in the crime. Matthew Woods, 25, of Gallipolis Ferry, pleaded guilty last month to second-degree murder in connection with the murder. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison for the crime.

According to court documents, McCallister asked for alternative sentencing, such as home confinement, but his request was denied. He did, however, receive credit for time served.

The other co-defendant, Steven Adkins, Jr., 26, of Gallipois, Ohio, still awaits trial. Right now his murder trial is set for March 2013.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 12/21/12
MASON COUNTY, W.Va (WSAZ) -- One of three men charged with the murder of Rene Gonzalez has been formally sentenced to prison.

Gonzalez was found shot to death outside his Gallipolis Ferry home in 2011.

On Thursday, Matthew Woods, 25, of Gallipolis Ferry, was sentenced to 10 years in prison after he pleaded guilty last month to second-degree murder. Wood was given credit for time served.

Chad McCallister, 31, of Apple Grove, was also charged in the murder. Earlier this month McCallister pleaded guilty to a lesser charge, voluntary manslaughter. The plea came after a jury had been selected and opening arguments were to begin in his trial.

The other co-defendant, Steven Adkins, Jr., 26, of Gallipois, Ohio, still awaits trial. Right now his murder trial is set for March 2013.

McCallister faces a mandatory sentence of 10 years for the charge. He is scheduled to be sentenced on January 18 at 10 a.m.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 12/17/12 @ 12:25 p.m.
MASON COUNTY, W.Va (WSAZ) -- A jury was selected and a trial was set to get underway, but the suspect made a last second plea deal.

Chad McCallister, 31, of Apple Grove, was set to go to trial last Friday for the murder of Rene Gonzalez. Gonzalez was found shot to death outside his Gallipolis Ferry home in 2011.

Just before opening arguments were to begin, McCallister pleaded guilty to a lesser charge, voluntary manslaughter.

According to investigators, McCallister was the mastermind behind a murder-for-hire plot to kill Gonzalez.

Two other men were charged with being involved in the crime. Matthew Woods, 25, of Gallipolis Ferry, pleaded guilty last month to second-degree murder in connection with the murder. He is scheduled to be sentenced this week.

The other co-defendant, Steven Adkins, Jr., 26, of Gallipois, Ohio, still awaits trial. Right now his murder trial is set for March 2013.

McCallister faces a mandatory sentence of 10 years for the charge. He is scheduled to be sentenced on January 18 at 10 a.m.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 12/14/12 @ 8 a.m.
POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Opening arguments are finally set to begin Friday morning for one of the three men charged with the murder of Rene Gonzalez.

Gonzalez was found dead at his home along W.Va. 2 in Gallipolis Ferry, in Mason County, on July 11, 2011.

Chad McCallister, 31, of Apple Grove, is charged with one count of murder and one count of conspiracy to commit murder

Jury selection began Tuesday morning, but did not wrap up until Thursday afternoon when a jury was picked.

According to investigators, McCallister is the mastermind behind a murder-for-hire plot to kill Gonzalez.

One of McCallister’s co-defendants, Matthew Woods, 25, of Gallipolis Ferry, pleaded guilty last month to second-degree murder in connection with the murder. He is expected to testify for the prosecution during McCallister’s trial.

The other co-defendant, Steven Adkins, Jr., 26, of Gallipois, Ohio, still awaits trial. Right now his murder trial is set for March 2013.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 12/11/12 @ 10 a.m.
POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. (WSAZ) – Jury selection began Tuesday morning for one of the three men charged with the murder of Rene Gonzalez.

Gonzalez was found dead at his home along W.Va. 2 in Gallipolis Ferry, in Mason County, on July 11, 2011.

Chad McCallister, 31, of Apple Grove, is charged with one count of murder and one count of conspiracy to commit murder

According to investigators, McCallister is the mastermind behind a murder-for-hire plot to kill Gonzalez.

“Basically, it was a revenge motive," Cpl. B.L. Keefer testified during a preliminary hearing in July 2011. "This is an ongoing situation between McCallister and Gonzalez that led to murder."

One of McCallister’s co-defendants, Matthew Woods, 25, of Gallipolis Ferry, pleaded guilty last month to second-degree murder in connection with the murder. His sentencing had been set for Monday, but was delayed. A published report says Woods is expected to testify during McCallister’s trial.

The other co-defendant, Steven Adkins, Jr., 26, of Gallipois, Ohio, still awaits trial. Right now his murder trial is set for March 2013.

A published resort says that Woods told the court during his plea hearing that Adkins indicated to him that he shot Gonzalez.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 10/1/12 @ 1 p.m.
POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- One of the three men charged in connection with a murder in Mason County has pleaded guilty.

According to court documents, Matthew Woods, 24, of Gallipolis Ferry, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in connection with the death of 43-year-old Rene Gonzalez.

Gonzalez was found dead at his home along W.Va. 2 in Gallipolis Ferry, in Mason County, on July 11.

Woods, Chad McCallister, 31, of Apple Grove, and Steven Adkins, Jr., 25, of Gallipois, Ohio, were each indicted on one count of murder and one count of conspiracy to commit murder back in January.

According to investigators, McCallister is the mastermind behind a murder-for-hire to kill Rene Gonzalez.

State Police Cpl. B.L. Keefer testified during both preliminary hearings back in July 2011.

“Basically, it was a revenge motive," Keefer said. "This is an ongoing situation between McCallister and Gonzalez that led to murder."

Jury selection is expected to take two days.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 1/11/12 @ 1 p.m.
POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The three men charged with the murder of Rene Gonzalez were arraigned Wednesday morning.

Gonzalez, 43, was found dead at his home along W.Va. 2 in Gallipolis Ferry in Mason County on July 11.

Lat week, Chad McCallister, 25, of Apple Grove, Matthew Woods, 24, of Gallipolis Ferry, and Steven Adkins, Jr., 25, of Gallipois, Ohio and Apple Grove, W.Va., were each indicted on one count of murder and one count of conspiracy to commit murder.

During the hearing Wednesday morning in Mason County Circuit Court, each man pleaded not guilty to the charges. Pretrials are set for February 10 and trials set for April 10.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 1/5/12
POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Murder indictments have been returned against the three men charged with killing Rene Gonzalez.

Chad McCallister, 25, of Apple Grove, Matthew Woods, 24, of Gallipolis Ferry, and Steven Adkins, Jr., 25, of Gallipois, Ohio and Apple Grove, W.Va. are each charged with one count of murder and one count of conspiracy to commit murder.

Gonzalez, 43, was found dead at his home along W.Va. 2 in Gallipolis Ferry in Mason County on July 11.



UPDATE 7/29/11 @ 6:25 p.m.
POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- What started as a robbery may have turned out to be an explosive love triangle that ended in murder. Those are the new details that emerged Friday in Mason County Circuit Court.

Chad McCallister and Matthew Woods both had preliminary hearings in what police are calling murder-for-hire to kill Rene Gonzalez.

The details are finally starting to come together. Detectives say McCallister did the hiring, Woods did the driving and a third man, in jail in Gallia County awaiting extradition, did the shooting. But, police say this whole plot may have developed because of a woman.

One after the other, wearing orange jail jumpsuits, McCallister and Woods entered the Mason County courtroom for the first time on murder charges.

According to police, McCallister is the mastermind behind a murder-for-hire to kill Rene Gonzalez.

State Police Cpl. B.L. Keefer testified during both preliminary hearings.

“Basically, it was a revenge motive," Keefer said. "This is an ongoing situation between McCallister and Gonzalez that led to murder."

Keefer testified that McCallister called Steven Adkins Jr., and Woods to his home on July 11 and told them to go to Gonzalez's home to get money Gonzalez owed him.

According to Keefer, Woods drove Adkins to Gonzalez's trailer along W.Va. Route 2 in Gallipolis Ferry and sat in the car. That's when Woods said he heard two gunshots followed by Adkins getting back in the car.

The two returned to McCallister's home where he was waiting. Gonzalez was found several hours later -- dead on his front porch with two gunshot wounds.

But, Keefer said this murder had very little to do with money and more to do with jealousy.

“Based on the info gleaned, Mr. McCallister's ex-wife was involved in a long-term relationship with Rene Gonzalez," Keefer said. "Mr. McCallister was trying to reconcile with his ex-wife, which led to this animosity.

Keefer said McCallister and Gonzalez frequently had physical fights over McCallister's ex-wife.

Before she was married to McCallister, she had a long-term relationship with Gonzalez, and the two had a daughter together.

McCallister and Woods' cases are now headed to the grand jury.

Adkins is in the Gallia County Jail, awaiting extradition to Mason County to also be tried on murder charges.



UPDATE 7/29/11 @ 12:25 a.m.
POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Preliminary hearings were held Friday for two of the three men charged with the murder of Rene Gonzalez.

Chad McCallister, 25, of Apple Grove, Matthew Woods, 24, of Gallipolis Ferry, and Steven Adkins, Jr., 25, of Gallipois, Ohio and Apple Grove, W.Va. have been charged with the murder.

Gonzalez, 43, was found dead at his home along W.Va. 2 in Gallipolis Ferry in Mason County on July 11.

The hearing for McCallister and Woods took place in Mason County Magistrate Court Friday morning.

West Virginia Cpl. B. L. Keefer testified during both hearings to events leading up to the shooting.

Keefer testified that McCallister called Adkins and Woods to his trailer that night. According to Cpl. Keefer, McCallister was supposedly mad at Gonzalez saying he owed him money. So, he hired Adkins to go over and get the money using “whatever it takes.” McCallister asked Woods to drive while he stayed home. According to Cpl. Keefer, Woods told him he took Adkins to Gonzalez’s trailer and waited in the car. Keefer says Woods told him he heard two gunshots and Adkins got back in the car and they went back to McCallister's home.

McCallister's ex-wife was previously in a long-term relationship with Gonzalez and the two have a daughter together. But, Cpl. Keefer says McCallister was attempting to reconcile with his ex-wife. Keefer said this woman was the source of a lot of jealousy and contention between the two men.

"I don't think this murder was as much about money as it was about jealousy and anger. These two had an ongoing dispute that often resulted in physical fights," said Cpl. B. L. Keefer.

Following the hearing, both cases were bound over to the grand jury. The next Mason County Grand Jury meets the first Tuesday of September.

Adkins, Jr. was arrested in Gallia County, Ohio on a fugitive from justice warrant out of Mason County, W.Va.

Thursday, during a hearing in Gallipolis Municipal Court, Adkins, Jr. said he was fighting extradition.

Prosecutors will now have to get a Governor’s Warrant for his return to W.Va.

Adkins Jr. will be back in court in Gallia County on August 25.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 7/28/11 @ 11:35 a.m.
GALLIPOLIS, Ohio (WSAZ) -- One of the three men charged with the murder of Rene Gonzalez is fighting extradition back to West Virginia.

Steven Adkins, Jr., 25, was arrested last Thursday night in Gallia County, Ohio, on a fugitive from justice warrant out of Mason County, West Virginia.

Thursday during a hearing in Gallipolis Municipal Court, Adkins, Jr. said he was fighting extradition to face W.Va murder charge.

Prosecutors will now have to get a Governor’s Warrant for his return.

Adkins Jr. will be back in court in Gallia County on August 25.

Chad McCallister, 25, of Apple Grove, and Matthew Woods, 24, of Gallipolis Ferry, were arrested by West Virginia State Police last Friday evening and charged with Gonzalez’s murder.

Their preliminary hearings are set for Friday morning in Mason County Magistrate Court.

Gonzalez, 43, was found dead at his home along W.Va. 2 in Gallipolis Ferry in Mason County on July 11.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest on this story.



UPDATE 7/25/11 @ 12 p.m.
MASON COUNTY, W.V. (WSAZ) -- Two of the three men arrested in connection with a murder in Mason County will be back in court Friday morning for their preliminary hearing.

Chad McCallister, 25, of Apple Grove, and Matthew Woods, 24, of Gallipolis Ferry, were arrested Friday evening and charged with first-degree murder.

Steven Adkins, Jr., 25, was arrested Thursday night by the Gallia County Sheriff's Office. Adkins' driver's license listed an Apple Grove, W.Va., address, but State Police say he spent a lot of time in Gallipolis, Ohio.

West Virginia State Police say the three men are responsible for the murder of Rene Gonzalez. He was found dead at his home along W.Va. 2 in Gallipolis Ferry, in Mason County, on July 11.

According to the criminal complaint filed in Mason County Magistrate Court, while at McCallister’s home, the three men discussed, planned and entered into a conspiracy where they planned to rob Gonzalez at his residence. The complaint then says Woods drove Adkins and McCallister to Gonzalez's’s home where Adkins got out of the vehicle with .410 gauge shotgun and went to the front door where he shot Gonzalez twice. Following the shooting, the complaint says the men drove back to McCallsiter’s residence.

The criminal complaint says Adkins was arrested at his mother’s residence. Investigators say they found him hiding in a closet. A .410 gauge shotgun with what appeared to be blood splatter was found in Adkins room; and a pair of blue jeans, with what appeared to be blood splatter, were found in a washing machine.

The complaint against Adkins also indicates that at least two individuals told law enforcement that they were informed the defendant was hired to kill Gonzalez.

Adkins remains in jail in Gallia County while awaiting extradition back to Mason County. McCallister and Woods are in the Western Regional Jail.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 7/22/11 @ 10 p.m.
MASON COUNTY, W.V. (WSAZ) -- Two more arrests have been made in a murder for hire case from Mason County.

West Virginia State Police say 29-year-old Chad Worthy McCallister of Apple Grove and 24-year-old Matthew Christopher Woods of Gallipolis Ferry both were arrested late Friday evening -- charged with first-degree murder.

Friday morning, State Police made their first arrest: 25-year-old Steven Adkins was arrested in Eureka. Troopers believe he's the one who pulled the trigger.

State Police say the three men are responsible for the murder of Rene Gonzalez. He was found dead at his home along W.Va. 2 in Gallipolis Ferry in Mason County on July 11.

Gonzalez, 43, originally from Trinidad, moved to the area several years ago to go to college at the University of Rio Grand on a soccer scholarship.

Troopers attribute their quick arrests to solid leads.

Both men have been taken to the Western Regional Jail in Cabell County.



UPDATE 7/22/11 @ 3:35 p.m.
MASON COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- An arrest has been made in connection with the murder of a Mason County man.

West Virginia State Police tell WSAZ.com Steven Adkins, Jr., 25, was arrested Thursday night by the Gallia County (Ohio) Sheriff's Office. Adkins' driver's license listed an Apple Grove, W.Va., address, but State Police say he spent a lot of time in Gallipolis.

Adkins is being held on a fugitive from justice charge in Ohio and is charged with first-degree murder in West Virginia in the shooting death of Rene Gonzalez.

Gonzalez was found dead July 11 near his front door in Gallipolis Ferry, W.Va.

State Police do not believe Adkins committed the crime alone. More arrests are pending.

"We believe that there were other people involved in this crime," State Police Cpl. B.L. Keefer said. "We do believe that Mr. Adkins was the trigger man. However, we do believe we received assistance as part of this crime. We just needed one break and received several in this case and can't thank the public enough. They came forward and stepped up to the plate. We would love to see that more in other cases and maybe we'd have the same outcome."

There's no word at this time on Adkins' relationship to Gonzalez or whether the two even knew each other. A motive has not been released at this time.

State Police say there have been a lot of good leads that have paid off, but they still need the public's help.

They are still searching for a vehicle of interest. They say it is a dark- colored car, believed to be dark blue. They say the car appeared to have tinted windows, had West Virginia license plates and oval headlights.

Witnesses told State Police the vehicle had an ignition/starter problem. When the car was started, they said there was a high pitch grinding sound. The sound was described as being similar to a vehicle being started -- when the vehicle was already running.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 7/20/11 @ 11:45 a.m.
POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The West Virginia State Police are now leading the investigation into a murder in Mason County.

Rene Gonzalez was found shot to death the porch of his home on Huntington Road, also known as State Route 2 in Gallipolis Ferry, W.Va. on July 11.

State Police tell WSAZ.com they have identified a vehicle of interest that may lead to information into the murder.

Wednesday they released a vehicle description. They say it is a dark colored car, believed to be dark blue. They say the car appeared to have tinted windows, had West Virginia license plates and oval headlights. Witnesses told State Police the vehicle had an ignition/starter problem and when the car was started, there was a high pitch grinding sound. They say the sound was described as being similar to a vehicle being started, when the vehicle was already running.

Right now, this is just a vehicle of interest and not being considered a suspect's vehicle. State Police say the occupant(s) of the vehicle may be able to provide them with information that will help with the investigation.

Call WVSP at 304-675-0850 if you have any information into Rene Gonzalez's murder.



UPDATE 7/11/11 @ 6:12p.m.
GALLIPOLIS FERRY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A beloved father and a man friends call a known drug dealer is dead--shot to death at his own home.

Now, police are on the hunt for a killer.

Police say Rene Gonzalez was shot twice in the doorway of his home. While he's been convicted on drug charges--pleading guilty to a drug possession a couple of years ago, everyone we spoke to told us you couldn't find a nicer man or a better father to his little girl.

“It wasn't true, I said no, no, it's not true,” said Jeannette Thompson.

That was Jeannette’s reaction after learning her best friend was dead-shot to death on his front porch here in Gallipolis Ferry in Mason County right along Route 2.

“Eyewitnesses say they heard something around midnight, but he wasn't discovered until 3:30 this morning,” said Cpl. Brent Keefer.

“I couldn't believe it first of all. Like anybody else, you wouldn't believe something like that,” said Roger Arnold, his landlord.

Rene Gonzalez was 43.

He moved here from Trinidad several years to play soccer on scholarship at the University of Rio Grande.

“Rene was a very awesome man. He was a very caring, very giving, very loving father. He loved his daughter, Eunora,” said Jeannette.

Jeanette said Gonzalez majored in computers and even taught a local computer class. But, his primary focus and pride and joy was his five-year-old daughter.

“I can't even think of what she's going to go through. She can't be away from her daddy for more than 24 hours and she wants her dad. She spent many nights with us. I used to live behind Rene and as soon as she wakes up in the morning, the first person she wants is her father,” said Jeannette.

So, why would someone want to shoot and kill him? Police are carefully trying to figure that out.

“We're looking at several different scenarios. This early in the investigation, we don't want to get tunnel vision. We are just trying to canvas every lead that we're working on at this point and trying to eliminate a lot of the suspects at this point,” said Cpl. Keefer.

Gonzalez had lived in the Mason County area ever since moving there to go to school. We encountered many folks who knew him and again not one unkind word.

Police are pursuing several leads and say the investigation is still very active.



ORIGINAL STORY 7/11/11 @ 10 a.m.
GALLIPOLIS FERRY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A man has been found shot to death at his home in Gallipolis Ferry.

Corporal B. L. Keefer of the West Virginia State Police tells WSAZ.com that 43-year-old Rene Gonzalez was found dead on the porch of his mobile home on Huntington Road, also known as Route 2.

A friend found the body about 3:30 a.m. Monday.

Keefer says at this time, it appears Gonzalez dies from two gunshot wounds. A gun was not found at the scene.

Investigators say they are working several leads.

State Police believe Gonzalez lived alone in the house.

Both the West Virginia State Police and Mason County Sheriff are working the investigation.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for updated information.


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