– WTVQ TV 36 –
A former pastor accused of murdering three people in Danville in 2013 has now switched his plea to guilty.
Kenneth Keith stood in front of the Boyle Circuit Court Judge today and admitted he is responsible for the murders of Michael Hockensmith,35, his wife, Angela, 38, and gold broker Daniel Smith, 60. They were fatally shot in 2013 at ABC Gold, Games and More in Danvill.
It was the talk of the town today as everyone in Danville reacted to the surprising news that Kenneth Keith was pleading guilty to the 2013 murders of Mike and Angela Hockensmith and Daniel Smith.
“I don’t know why it took him so long you know for him to just finally say yeah I’ll go ahead and confess. I guess all this time that he’s had time to think about it, just wanted to move on,” said Chip Orton of Danville.
Back in September of 2013 police found all three victims shot to death inside the ABC Gold, Games and More pawn shop off South Fourth Street.
“It was a big deal. I mean they had a helicopter looking for who they thought was the suspect and I mean they were swarming the area, helicopter flying over you. You knew something was going on,” said Jeff Selby of Danville.
Police say the Hockensmith’s owned the shop and Smith was a customer. The couples young son was also inside the shop at the time of the murders.
“It was just a sad deal you know the whole deal. There was just no reason for him to do it,” said Orton.
Now after years of legal motions and awaiting the trial, people here say they’re just relieved it’s finally close to over.
“It’s a closed case now so it’s not really an issue I think anymore but it’s nice to hear that this guy got what was coming to him and what not. You know, he fought the law, the law won,” said Malik Robinson of Danville.
The judge had previously set Keith’s trial date for August 10th.
By pleading guilty, Keith avoids the death penalty.
The prosecution recommended he serve life in prison without parole.
A judge agreed and sentenced him today.