No trial for Salem murder suspect

LISBON – The relative accused of murder in the 2009 death of Arthur F. Gilmore of Salem was found incompetent to stand trial on Friday in Columbiana County Common Pleas Court.

Judge C. Ashley Pike after reading the results of an evaluation by the Forensics Center noted Christopher J. Adkins, 27, of Youngstown, has a mental illness which causes him to be unable to understand the court’s proceeding or participate in his own defense.

Pike instead ordered the county sheriff’s office to transport Adkins to Heartland Behavioral Clinic, where he can get some treatment for his illness. For now, the murder case against Adkins will be put on hold until he is able to assist in his own defense.

Adkins, Gilmore’s stepson, is charged with murder after investigators believe he purposely caused the death of Gilmore, 62, on Sept. 26, 2009. He was indicted on the murder charge in October 2013 by the Columbiana County grand jury.

At the time of the indictment, Salem Detective David Talbert said police and medical personnel responded to the home on the morning of Sept. 26, 2009 for a medical call. At the time police arrived, Gilmore had already been transported to Salem Community Hospital where he was declared dead.

Talbert said he began the investigation into Gilmore’s death began after speaking with family members at the house. The death appeared suspicious to Talbert, who asked for an autopsy to be done and he began taking statements from family members and friends. Although the coroner eventually ruled the cause of death as undetermined, the manner of death was ruled asphyxia by smothering.

Talbert said by all accounts from talking to family and friends, Gilmore was a good man and a Vietnam veteran, who retired from GM and at some point moved to Salem from Youngstown with his two young daughters for a better life. He had worked in Salem at Ventra Plastics. Most of his family, including his stepson, Adkins, remained in the Youngstown area, but they were known to come to Salem to visit Gilmore from time to time, Talbert said.