Kanawha County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Plants, based on conversations with family members, decided to proceed with the case. A grand jury indicted Slater earlier this year on charges of voluntary manslaughter, a misdemeanor that carries the same punishment as battery.
Giggenbach noted Friday that the investigation unearthed a brief gap of time between when Adkins reportedly grabbed at the woman and when Slater punched Adkins. He apparently took several moments to walk down the sidewalk, find Adkins and deliver the blow, indicating that he could have adjusted his actions at any time, prosecutors said.
"Our goal in this case is, first of all, getting a conviction," Giggenbach said.
Slater, according to police, has a history of barroom scuffles.
An anonymous tipster told police during the initial investigation, when authorities were still trying to identify the man responsible for punching Adkins, that Slater had been in bar fights before.
Slater himself told police that, on the same night he punched Adkins, two men also had punched Slater and broke his nose for "hitting a woman." Slater's friend, Camellia L. Taylor, fell to the ground during the scuffle with Adkins. The men might have believed that Slater assaulted her, Slater said, according to a police report.
"I think it's a good possibility that this defendant will screw up," Giggenbach said, adding that drug and alcohol screens might detect that Slater is not following the terms of his probation.
Bruce Adkins, Robert Adkins' brother, told the judge that his brother already suffered from medical problems and had a heart valve and pacemaker. He asked the judge for a heavier sentence based on his reportedly raucous history as a "fighter."
"Probation for a life," Adkins said before Kaufman gave his ruling. "Justice -- I just don't see it."
Reach Zac Taylor at zachary.tay...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5189.