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December 28, 2014

Ricky Dale Adkins dies in prison

Death Row inmate murdered real estate agent in St. Clair County in 1988

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Posted: Wednesday, July 2, 2014 12:31 am | Updated: 2:55 pm, Wed Jul 9, 2014.

A man on Alabama’s Death Row for the murder of a real estate agent in St. Clair County 26 years ago died Tuesday, the Alabama Department of Corrections said.

Ricky Dale Adkins, 49, died in the infirmary of Holman Prison in Atmore, according to the state Department of Corrections. No information on his cause of death was given.

Adkins was convicted of kidnapping, raping and murdering Billie Dean Hamilton, 38, a Shelby County real estate agent.

According to reports published at the time, Adkins was a native of Lubbock, Texas. He had Hamilton showing him houses in the greater Birmingham area in January 1988, the last time Hamilton was seen alive.

Her body was found by the side of the road near Leeds by a minister who had stopped there. An autopsy revealed that Hamilton was stabbed multiple times, beaten about the head with a heavy blunt object, and had dirt and large pieces of gravel stuffed into her throat and inhaled into her lungs. The medical report indicated that several of her injuries would have been fatal or life-threatening on their own.

Adkins was arrested at a Holiday Inn in Augusta, Ga., where he had checked in using one of Hamilton’s credit cards.

Adkins was tried for capital murder and sentenced to death by the end of 1988. His appeals had been ongoing ever since.

Even though both Adkins and Hamilton were white, the grounds for the most recent appeals had been based on the fact that there was only one African-American on the original jury.

According to the Associated Press, a federal court had ordered a new trial for Adkins last year, and a hearing in that case was set for July 10. 

In more than two decades on Death Row, it does not appear that Atkins was ever given an execution date.

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