DINWIDDIE COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — The mother of a slain Dinwiddie County teenager spoke out for the first time, demanding justice for her daughter. Vikisha Smith believes the justice system has failed her and says there’s a chance her daughter’s accused killer could walk free.
Through numerous legal hearings and days in court, Smith says she’s had to relive the brutal murder for nearly two and a half years, telling 8News she will no longer keep quiet.
“I’m not going to just sit back and do nothing,” Smith said. “I’m sorry, it’s not going to happen.”
Smith’s 17-year-old daughter was violently murdered in June of 2018. Ke’Asia Adkins was reported missing on June 25 after she was last seen leaving her grandmother’s home on Sentry Hill Court. Smith said her daughter was headed to cheerleading practice but grew worried when nobody could reach her.
Four days later, the Dinwiddie high school cheerleader’s body was found near the family home buried in a shallow grave, wrapped in black trash bags with zip ties over her head.
“Leaving someone out there in 100-degree weather and her body was decomposing, I couldn’t even have an open casket,” Smith said. “I couldn’t even go and identify her visually. I had to look at a picture on a phone of a tattoo and was asked the color of the nail polish on her toes.”
Adkins’ cousin, Anton Coleman, was arrested and charged for the murder. Smith says he was originally charged with capital murder. She agreed to lower the charge to second-degree murder, hoping she’d have a better chance in court, however.
In 2019, Coleman stood trial in Dinwiddie Circuit Court. Smith says Coleman pleaded guilty, sharing that the key piece of evidence in the case was Coleman’s ankle monitor. She went on to say, Coleman was wearing a court-ordered tracking device from a previous incident, which put him at the scene of the crime numerous times.
The Dinwiddie clerk’s office confirmed with 8News that the jury was ‘hung’ and a mistrial was declared, however.
Smith says she’s gotten no answers as to when a new trial will happen, sharing that Coleman has been removed from jail and admitted to Central State Hospital in Petersburg. She says Coleman’s mental health is being monitored.
“Apparently, he’s incompetent to stand the second trial,” Smith said. “My problem is, I’m not understanding that because he was competent to stand trial the first time, so why isn’t he competent to stand the second.”
8News did some digging into the homicide on Monday, learning that a judge has placed a gag order on the case, certain court documents remain sealed, and a change of venue request was recently approved.
A gag order is a legal order issued by a court and if broken someone could face jail time, a fine, or harsher restrictions.
The case has been transferred to Greensville Circuit Court. According to online records, no second trial date is on the books and the clerk says it will not happen until at least next year.
8News also questioned the Dinwiddie County Commonwealth’s Attorney for answers on Monday, however, due to the gag order in place, Ann Baskerville declined to speak.
Smith says no matter what, she will continue to fight for her daughter and for mental health legislation. Smith and a close friend have started an online petition for reform that’s racked up more than 3,000 signatures.
“No one is willing to help me, so I’m doing what I have to do for my daughter,” Smith said. “If I have to go to jail, I will. I’m always going to fight for her until justice is served.”
Smith says nothing will bring back her daughter, but justice would be Coleman serving a life sentence for her murder.
Continuing the fight, Smith is holding a peaceful protest outside of Central State Hospital on Washington Street on Nov. 7. The demonstration is from noon to 1 p.m.
Visitors who attend are asked to wear a mask and blue or purple clothing, which were Adkins’ favorite colors.
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