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home : latest news : local May 26, 2016

4/2/2014 6:00:00 AM
Kingman murder case may hinge on expert vs. expert duel
Robert Adkins
Robert Adkins
Doug McMurdo
Miner Staff Reporter

KINGMAN - A jury might have to choose which side has the better expert when alleged killer Robert John Adkins goes on trial for beating his roommate, a man for whom Adkins acted as a caretaker.

Kingman Police believe Adkins, 52, beat to death 53-year-old Michael Sudkamp at their home in the 900 block of Astor Avenue on Christmas Eve.

The Mohave County Medical Examiner declared Sudkamp's cause of death a homicide, noting 27 rib fractures were among his injuries and evidence he suffered beatings in the past.

Defense attorney Brad Rideout at a previous hearing suggested Sudkamp's death occurred when he was pinned to a garage wall by a car.

While Judge Steven Conn expressed doubts regarding the theory, Rideout on Monday told the Miner he hired a former medical examiner to review the case.

The expert, he said, determined Sudkamp's injuries were too severe to be caused by a beating and that the only similar injuries he encountered in his career occurred in a fatal skydiving incident.

How Sudkamp came to be pinned by a car and - as Conn asked at a previous hearing - how was he able to move from the garage after being severely injured to where his body was found in the bathroom remain unanswered questions.

Rideout was quick to point out the case will certainly move forward as prosecutors have their own medical expert.

Prosecutors also say they have evidence Adkins has an explosive temper. He does not have a criminal record in Arizona, according to the state judiciary's public access court website.

At a hearing Monday, Rideout told Conn "significant progress" has been made in the case, but he requested more time to settle pretrial issues. Conn set the next hearing for late this month.

At that hearing, the judge will hear arguments from attorneys regarding a wide range of legal questions, including what evidence will or will not be admitted at the trial, which Conn could schedule at the conclusion of the hearing.

Adkins, who has denied any involvement in Sudkamp's death, remains in the Mohave County jail without bond. He is charged with second-degree murder.

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