TIMELINE: The case of Dana Rosendale

TIMELINE: The case of Dana Rosendale
Russell Adkins (Source: WTOL)
Russell Adkins (Source: WTOL)
In January 2013, Rosendale's body was exhumed for further examination. (Source: WTOL)
In January 2013, Rosendale's body was exhumed for further examination. (Source: WTOL)

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - On September 5, 1982, Dana Rosendale, a brand new mother and Owens Community College student, was out with her best friend Roxy Pelow the night she sustained fatal injuries.

The two spent the better part of the night at South Side Roxy, a hot spot in the 70s and 80s for rock musicians and fans alike, located near Byrne and Hill.

Investigators say the bouncer, Russell Adkins, opted to take Dana and Roxy home. Roxy was dropped off first in Michigan; Dana was dropped off second, but she never made it home.

Later that night, Northwood Police were notified about an unconscious woman found lying in front of a home in the 1900 block of Tracy Road. The woman was later identified as 19-year-old Dana Rosendale.

Around 3:32 a.m. that night, police learned that a male subject had come to a neighbor's door across the street and requested they call fire and rescue for the woman.

Russell stated he spotted her body as he drove up the street. He then later admitted Dana had been a passenger in his car, which she had fallen out of, according to Russell.

Dana's boyfriend and father of her newborn was at home asleep in Toledo when he received a call about what had happened to Dana on Tracy Road.

On September 11, 1982, Dana died at Mercy St. Charles Hospital, and the subsequent autopsy revealed she died of craniocerebral injuries due to blunt force trauma to the right side of the head. The cause of death was ruled undetermined.

However, in a Northwood Police report, dated on the same day of her death, it was noted that Lucas County Coroner Dr. Harry Mignerey contacted the investigating detective and expressed concern that Dana should have exhibited more trauma if she had indeed fallen from a moving car as reported.

Then, in January of 2013, Rosendale's body was disinterred for further examination.

Her cause of death was ruled as blunt force injuries to the head as a result of beating. Her cause of death was changed to a homicide, and the case was reopened.

Russell Adkins and Roxy Pelow remained uncooperative throughout the police investigation, and Pelow failed to take a scheduled polygraph.

But Dana's only daughter, Brittany Stork, was determined and persistent beyond belief to find the person or persons responsible for the death of her mother.

Investigator John Helm said the case may not have been reopened if it wasn't for her daughter.

Wood and Lucas Counties as well as multiple state agencies partnered to go to extreme, rare measures to uncover clues.

On Thursday, February 19, 2015, Wood County prosecutors arrested and charged Russel Adkins, now in his 50s, with the murder of Dana Rosendale.

In June 2015, the defense for Adkins asked the judge to dismiss the murder case for lack of evidence. The motion was ultimately denied, and a trial was set for Sept. 28, 2015.

The trial was delayed and started Tuesday, Jan 19, 2016. It was expected to last for two weeks, but ended a bit sooner.

On the first day of the trial, opening statements were heard from both the defense and prosecution. John Helm, the original investigator for the prosecutor's office, and Dana's older sister Deborah were called to the stand to give their testimony.

On the second day of the trial, Jan. 20, testimonies were heard from Tammy Friess, Roxy Pelow, Judith Fritz and others involved as either police or EMT at the time of the incident.

The third day saw testimonies from a forensic anthropologist, investigating officer and Deputy Coroner Dr. Diane Scala-Barnett, who brought a slideshow of pictures. Jurors then asked questions about the validity of Adkins' claim that Dana fell out of his car.

The trial picked up again on Monday, Jan. 25 for the fourth day of the trial, where both the prosecution and the defense called accident reconstruction specialists to the stand. That was the prosecution's last witness, but the defense was just getting started. They then called Dr. Werner Spitz to the stand, whose opinion about what happened to Dana greatly differs from that of Dr. Diane Scala-Barnett's.

On the fifth day of the trial prosecution brought in Dr. Stephen Symes as their rebuttal witness. Symes said that unlike the defense's witness, he sees three impact points on Dana's skull. He also said that in the second autopsy it appeared that her injuries were more consistent with a beating, rather than falling. Defense then argued that in one of Symes's reports about his analysis, he stated that injuries sustained from falling out of a vehicle can be variable and unpredictable.

Wednesday, the sixth day of the trial, both the prosecution and the defense made their closing statements. However, after a few hours of deliberation a hung jury was reached.

Monday, Feb. 1, in a pretrial hearing, the state decided to retry Adkins. The next pretrial hearing was scheduled for Feb. 28, 2016.

The retrial of Adkins began on Monday, July 11, 2016, with jury selection.

On Tuesday, July 12, 2016, testimony began. Jurors hear from three witnesses, including a volunteer firefighter who responded to the scene and Pelow, the woman who was with Dana the night she died.

Wednesday, July 13, more witnesses and the Lucas County Coroner took the stand. The coroner says, "I believe she died from a beating. In my opinion, this was a homicide." The defense postures that Dana could have died from blunt force from a baseball bat or pipe.

Thursday, July 14, the former prosecuting attorney from 1982 took the stand. A forensic anthropologist, who showed the jury Rosendale's preserved skull, explained his theory - that she died from three blows to the head.

Friday, July 15, defense calls expert witnesses who use case of a French man who fell out of a car to explain how Rosendale could have sustained her injuries. Just before 2 a.m., a jury found Russell Adkins guilty in the death of Dana Rosendale.

On Monday, July 18, Adkins was given the maximum sentence of life in prison with the eligibility of parole after 15 years.

Stay with WTOL 11 for the latest in this case. 

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