HUNTINGTON — A Cabell County man convicted of incest will be released on probation after he received a second probation revocation hearing after the Supreme Court ruled he was not given a fair initial hearing.
Michael Joe Adkins, 36, of Ona, was sentenced in November 2017 to five years’ probation and 50 years of supervised release after Cabell Circuit Judge Paul T. Farrell suspended a five- to 15-year prison sentence. He was convicted of incest surrounding a case that led to an 11-year-old aborting a fetus.
Adkins will be released back on probation, if approved by probation officers. Cabell Circuit Judge Gregory Howard’s office said the decision was made after a three-hour-long hearing Tuesday.
Adkins has been incarcerated since April 2018.
In July 2018, Farrell ruled Adkins should be sent to prison for the original sentence after the judge believed he had violated his probation when he admitted to striking his girlfriend on at least one occasion. Other reasons for the petition for revocation included Adkins being kicked out of a sex offender counseling program, driving without a license on multiple occasions and not paying court fees.
During his final probation revocation hearing, Adkins’ attorney Connor Robertson had filed a motion to suppress his statement, but after arguments Farrell ruled the statement had been given voluntarily and was enough to revoke Adkins’ probation.
Although the petition to revoke his probation listed several reasons for the filing, Robertson was not permitted to present any other evidence regarding the probation revocation, even after telling the court he had documents to present to the court and witnesses who were waiting to testify.
The justices of the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals ruled Farrell had erred by failing to afford Adkins a full, final evidentiary probation revocation hearing.
Adkins’ case has been in limbo as his attorney attempted to find a new therapy program for him to enter and to remove Farrell as judge for what he called an improper statement made at Adkins’ sentencing. The COVID-19 pandemic delayed it further.
As of Wednesday morning, Adkins was still housed at Western Regional Jail in Barboursville.