By: Michael Campbell | Twitter: @itsthesoup
Posted: January 9, 2019 | 6:43 p.m.
DINWIDDIE – County prosecutors have decided against pursuing the death penalty for the man accused of murdering a Dinwiddie teenager during the summer of 2018.
Dinwiddie County Commonwealth’s Attorney Ann Cabell Baskervill confirmed that her office will not seek the death penalty against 21-year-old Anton Deonte Coleman in connection with the kidnapping and murder of 16-year-old Ke’Asia Adkins, a Dinwiddie High School student and, according to published reports, a relative of Coleman.
Court records show Coleman is now facing capital murder for his alleged role in Adkins’ death.
“It is plain under the law, meanwhile, that the combination of the two charges supports a capital murder charge, which, here, is based on an allegation of willful, deliberate, and premeditated killing in the course of abduction with intent to defile,” Baskervill said in a statement Wednesday afternoon. “The evidentiary change … does increase the burden on the Commonwealth, but after having a chance to receive and evaluate our evidence, in filing the capital charge, obviously I am willing to pursue that link. There are some litigation risks with having that burden – risks which certainly informed the discretionary decision on charging – but as matters have developed, the balance on the scales shifted.”
The senseless death of Ke’Asia sent shockwaves through the Dinwiddie community, a community that united to find her when she was reported missing in late June, joining law enforcement in searches, along with holding prayer vigils in the hopes that Adkins would return home to her family safely which tragically did not come to fruition.
Adkins’ body was found in an area behind her family’s home just off U.S. Route 1 and Coleman was quickly arrested and charged with kidnapping before a Dinwiddie County grand jury issued their indictments for first-degree murder charges.
In past conversations, the county prosecutor’s office led by Baskervill has said they are very aware of the gravity of the case they are presenting on behalf of the Commonwealth.
“The community is rocked, and that community, here as much as ever, includes so many young people, for whom too much in life is uncertain, and for whom this case may be their first real exposure to the criminal justice system,” she remarked in an earlier interview with The Dinwiddie Monitor. ” I am particularly driven to represent a system that is legitimate, trustworthy, fair, and worthy of the respect and protection of a society committed to freedom and the rule of law. Our system is the best humanity knows; there are imperfections that we must recognize and try to improve, but the overarching goals and values are fairness, justice, impartiality, and by and large, the system protects and accomplishes these ideals.”
According to court records, a hearing is scheduled for January 25 in connection with the case.
Michael Campbell will have more from Dinwiddie County prosecutor Ann Cabell Baskervill in a full report in the January 16 edition of The Dinwiddie Monitor, in print and online at TheDinwiddieMonitor.com.