BECKLEY, WV (LOOTPRESS) – A Beckley man has pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in connection to the brutal August 2021 killing of 29-year-old Tonya Adkins.
According to prosecutors, 41-year-old Ronald J. McClung of Beckley pleaded guilty on Tuesday to one count of first-degree murder and faces 15 years to life in prison. A sentencing date has been scheduled for May 9, 2023.
Adkins was last seen on August 15, 2021, and was reported missing to police three days later on August 18.
On September 8, 2023, Tonya Adkins’ body was recovered by police near New River Drive in Beckley and an investigation then ensued. Prosecutors say that McClung and Adkins had some sort of romantic relationship and at some point in August they got into an argument over a cell phone.
During the conflict, McClung struck Adkins in the head with a baseball bat and broke her skull which as result killed her. After striking Adkins, McClung took her body and deposited it into a creek along New River Drive in Beckley.
Prosecutors say that when the body was discovered, it was determined it was in a different area than where McClung left it as 2021 brought a lot of rain to the area which as result moved Adkins’ body around. The body had to be sent for an autopsy at the University of Tennessee due to the condition of the remains.
Individuals came forward stating that McClung had admitted to them that he killed Tanya Adkins. Police then arrested McClung who confessed to the murder and also stated that he had sex with her dead body.
Brian Parsons, Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney of Raleigh County says that McClung’s actions were inexplicable. “There was no reason Tanya Adkins had to die in that manner, leaving the body outdoors for days and weeks,” Parsons said. “[It] deprived the family even of the comfort of recovering her body intact and giving her a proper burial.”