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Kingsport man convicted of murdering estranged wife

Rain Smith • May 20, 2009 at 12:00 AM

BLOUNTVILLE — A Kingsport man accused of killing his estranged wife in May 2007 has been convicted of murder charges.

A jury returned guilty verdicts against Joseph H. Adkins, 51, of 2312 Kendelworth Drive, Tuesday in criminal court in Blountville.

Adkins was accused of kicking in the front door to the home of Kathy Adkins, 119 Shadyview Road. He then walked in and shot her at least six times with a 9 mm semiautomatic pistol as she sat in a chair.

She died at Holston Valley Medical Center.

Joseph Adkins, aka Joe H. Morrison, turned himself in to Kingsport police two days later.

Authorities believed Adkins parked his truck at a nearby church then walked to the residence with the gun in a brown paper bag. He walked back to his truck after shooting Kathy Adkins — and also fired the gun toward children who were playing nearby.

Adkins was found guilty of premeditated murder and felony murder. He was also convicted on three counts of aggravated assault, each carrying a fine of $10,000, and aggravated burglary, with another $10,000 fine.

Sullivan County Assistant District Attorney Barry Staubus said the murder convictions carry life in prison. Sentencing on the other charges is scheduled for June 26.

Adkins’ case was bound over to the grand jury in January 2008 after he was found competent to stand trial. He claimed he’d been using alcohol, cocaine and OxyContin the day of his estranged wife’s murder.

But prior to his competency hearing, a Cherokee Health Systems forensics evaluator advised the court that “voluntary consumption of mind-altering substances is not sufficient to support the insanity defense.”

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