It shouldn’t be surprising that it’s taking a while to receive a judgment on the Rev. Kenneth Adkins’ second bond hearing, as defense attorney Kevin Gough entered into evidence 30-40 hours of jailhouse phone calls by the pastor facing multiple child sexual abuse counts.
Gough said the phone calls, in their entirety, help show that the prosecution’s contentions are unfounded that his client might leave town if released. Gough said the calls show instead that the court should grant Adkins a bond so he can leave jail on pretrial release to go about addressing personal issues, not the least of which is his own health.
Gough said prosecutors entering excerpts of phone calls into evidence and then playing them in open court during the first bond hearing, without advising him beforehand, placed the defense at an unfair disadvantage.
Glynn County Superior Court Judge Stephen Scarlett ordered Gough and prosecutors to have briefs stating their arguments and noting relevant excerpts in the recordings to back those arguments, with the deadline of Dec. 23.
Gough also filed a post-hearing brief Jan. 3 reiterating the arguments made in the second bond hearing and noting disagreements with the ruling of Judge E.M. Wilkes III during the first bond hearing, in which Wilkes noted that Adkins’ statements in the phone calls played by prosecutors indicated he was a flight risk.
The calls also led to an additional charge levied of witness intimidation, including in the grand jury’s indictment. During that call, Adkins allegedly leaned on a common friend of his and the primary alleged victim in the case.
“The tenor of the conversation, taken as a whole, supports a conclusion that when (the) Defendant told the friend of the alleged victim he needed to do something with respect to the alleged victim, what he meant by directing him to ‘handle it’ was find a way to convince the victim to recant his allegations, without regard to whether or not they were true,” Wilkes wrote.
Included in Gough’s Jan. 3 brief is an affidavit by defense investigator Philip Lyons, who is a retired federal probation officer. He stated Adkins knew better than to say anything over the phone in the manner prosecutors contend regarding possibly jumping bond, and his statements were taken out of context during the first bond hearing.
“Additionally, in the telephone conversation Mr. Adkins had with (the mutual friend), which is the basis for Count 11 of the indictment, Mr. Adkins, in this conversation, informs (the mutual friend) that the call is being recorded,” Lyons wrote. “It appears by this acknowledgement and the recorded statement prior to all phone calls made from the Glynn County Detention Center that all calls are being recorded, Mr. Adkins would not inform the Government that he was planning to jump bond, if a bond were to be granted.”