Elkins found guilty of brutal murder

MONTESANO — Eugene V. Elkins Jr. was found guilty of second-degree murder Thursday for the brutal beating death of his girlfriend last summer in their Clemons Road mobile home outside Montesano.

Kornelia Englemann, 58, of Montesano, was found dead June 6. The 56-year-old Elkins allegedly told police the two had argued about five days before her body was found in the home they shared, sometimes described as a “shoving match” in officers’ testimony.

But Deputy Prosecutor Katie Svoboda told the jury in her closing arguments, “Kornelia Englemann suffered a brutal beating much more than a pushing match or a shoving match. This was an internal, savage beating. The state does not have to prove that Elkins intended to kill her.”

Instead, Svoboda explained, the state merely has to prove that the assault Elkins committed led to her death.

Defense attorney David Mistachkin rested his defense immediately, calling no witnesses. Elkins never took the stand.

Mistachkin explained that the state had never proven its case and argued that it had also neglected to do any DNA tests or fingerprint analysis to see if anyone else had been involved.

“It’s simply inexcusable,” he told the jury. “Why collect all this evidence if you’re not going to test it?”

“To give ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ a short shrift would be an injustice to the whole system, not just to Mr. Elkins,” Mistachkin added. “Can you honestly say that the state has proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt?”

After a trial that began Tuesday and concluded Thursday morning with closing arguments, the jury deliberated for less than two hours before finding Elkins guilty.

Superior Court Judge Gordon Godfrey polled each juror individually to see if they all agreed with the verdict and each one said they did.

Sentencing has been set for May 13. Svoboda said Elkins could face between 10 and 20 years in prison for the crime.