UPDATE: ROCKFORD (WIFR) ---- The verdict is delivered in the case of a man allegedly linked to a fatal hit-and-run from over three years ago.
Anthony Adkins was found not guilty after being charged with failure to report an accident involving serious injury or death. Prosecutors say Adkins was behind the wheel when his car slammed into Michael Steines, killing him. They say Adkins left the scene and dumped his car. The trial began on Wednesday.
ROCKFORD (WIFR) – It was a tearful day in court for the family of a man hit by a speeding car while walking home, the impact so bad it severed his leg and killed him almost instantly.
The trial against Anthony Adkins began today. He’s charged with failure to report an accident involving serious injury or death. Prosecutors say Adkins was behind the wheel, traveling 50 miles an hour on South 2nd Street when his car slammed into Michael Steines at the intersection of South 2nd and Grove. They say Adkins left the scene, dumped the car he was driving and told his girlfriend to report the vehicle as missing.
It happened in August of 2012, but Adkins wasn’t arrested until last February. His attorneys argue he was a passenger in the car and say there is no physical evidence or witnesses that prove he was the driver.
“Mr. Adkins’ fingerprints were nowhere to be found in the driver area of that vehicle. We expect you will hear his DNA was nowhere to be found anywhere near the driver area of that vehicle,” says Defense Attorney Ryan Swift.
“The driver of that car was the defendant, Anthony Adkins. The evidence will show that Anthony Adkins was driving his girlfriend’s car on South 2nd Street when he struck Michael Steines at a speed of about 50 miles per hour,” says Prosecutor Jennifer Harrison.
The trial is expected to wrap up on Friday.
UPDATE: ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- The family of a local father left to die on the side of a Stateline road is speaking out as his alleged killer makes his first court appearance. Michael Steines’ family says they're starting to feel some closure over Anthony Adkins arrest.
"Emotional. Very emotional. We're all over the place," Tressie Nesemeier, Steines’ Sister said, describing her emotions, moments after seeing the man accused of killing her brother in court.
It's a day Steines' family has waited for as they come face to face with Adkins. He's accused of killing Steines more than two and a half years ago. His family says Adkins arrest gives them some peace.
"He can't be there for birthdays, he can't be there for Christmas and this guy was walking free and able to do that, so it provides us a little bit of comfort knowing we can't bring mike back, but he's no longer free to walk," Nesemeier said.
Steines was killed in 2012 while walking home from a concert on August 30th. Investigators say he was hit by a speeding driver on South Second Street. Police found the suspected car down the road after the driver ran away.
Steines left behind two kids; a seven-year-old son and 13-year-old daughter.
"She cried and she cried and she cried. She was so happy. She said finally somebody is going to pay for taking my daddy away," Nesemeier said, explaining her nieces reaction to Adkin’s arrest.
Steines’ family knows they still have a long road ahead, and hope their story will help families in similar situations.
"Don't ever give up. Keep fighting," Nesemeier said.
Adkins faces either probation for four to 15 years in prison for failure to report an accident involving death. He also faces charges for escape and resisting arrest. If found guilty on all charges Adkins faces up to 23 years in prison. He's being held on one million dollars bond.
Rockford Police will not say what new information led to Adkins arrest.
UPDATE: ROCKFORD (WIFR) – Nearly three years after a Rockford father is left to die on a Stateline road, a man is arrested for his death.
Winnebago County State’s Attorney Joe Bruscato says Anthony Adkins was arrested Wednesday. Officers say he’s linked to the August 2012 death of Michael Steines.
Steines was killed on South Second Street when he was hit by a car while walking from a downtown concert. Officers found the suspected car around that time, after the driver ran away from the scene.
The victim’s family says while they feel some closure, they need a conviction to know justice is served.
We will continue to follow this case as it develops.
ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Charges still haven't been filed in a hit and run that left a Rockford father dead two years ago. The family of
Michael Steines says they just want justice for their brother as the anniversary of his death arrives.
He was known as Mikey to his friends and family. Michael Steines' sister says her brother was a jokester.
"He wanted to laugh about everything and make everything into a joke in some silly kind of way," said Tressie Nesemeier.
Steines would've turned 36 this year.
Mikey's sister Tressie said, "His birthday is in June and the holidays and when his birthday comes around it gets really hard."
That's because an alleged speeding driver cut Mikey's life short. Investigators say Steines was hit in the early morning hours of August 30, 2012 on South Second St., while he was leaving a downtown concert. Police found the suspected car down the road after the driver ran away.
Michael's brother says police told him there were no witnesses.
"She told me that there was no evidence and there probably won't be enough evidence to convict him," said Mikey's brother, Jason Law.
But that's not stopping family from fighting for justice in the death of their loved one.
Nesemeier said, "I'm hopeful and I'm relentless and I'm not going to stop."
Steines leaves behind three children. Family members have created a Facebook page called Justice for Mikey. They're asking anyone with information on Mikey's death, to let them know or call police.
You can access the Facebook page by clicking the attached link.