TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - A man serving life in prison for a 1982 murder had his case heard by the Sixth District Court of Appeals on Wednesday.
Russell Adkins is accused of murdering young mother Dana Rosendale after giving her a ride home from a Toledo club.
Police found Rosendale on the side of the road suffering from blunt force trauma, and she later died at the hospital from her injuries.
Her cause of death was ruled undetermined until 2014, when her case was reopened and the cause of death was ruled a homicide.
Police arrested and charged Adkins for the crime in February 2015.
Adkins' first trial ended in a mistrial. He was found guilty by a jury in his second trial and was sentenced to life in prison with the eligibility of parole after 15 years.
Now, Adkins is asking for an appeal.
The defense wants the court to overturn the lower court's ruling based on two things.
First, the length of time between when Rosendale died and when Adkins was arrested. The defense says much of the evidence in the case was gone by that time.
Secondly, the autopsy findings by experts. The defense says when Rosendale's body was exhumed for a second autopsy, the findings by the forensic anthropologist new to the case were different than the first opinions given by experts at the time of Rosendale's death.
Adkins' sister Amy Kramer says her family has always believed there wasn't enough evidence, 30 years ago or today, to find her brother guilty of the murder.
"Honestly,nobody we know, we can't figure out how they ever prosecuted him. They had less evidence when they prosecuted him than they did back in 1982 when it all happened. We just still can't believe it. He's my brother and we need to be here," Kramer said.
Prosecutors are not surprised by the defense's arguments, saying it's not uncommon for the defense to appeal cold cases like this.
The three judges hearing the appeal can take from two weeks to two months to make their decision.
If both judges decide to uphold the lower court's ruling, the defense will likely take the case to the Ohio Supreme Court.