The Richmond Register

January 31, 2014

Prosecutor to seek death penalty in pawn shop slayings

Richmond man shot to death in possible robbery


Associated Press

DANVILLE — A Boyle County prosecutor says he will seek the death penalty for a pastor accused of murdering three people at a Danville pawn shop in September.

The victims included 60-year-old gold broker Daniel Smith of Richmond.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports that Boyle County Commonwealth’s Attorney Richie Bottoms filed notice Thursday that he will seek a death sentence against 48-year-old Kenneth Allen Keith of Burnside in Pulaski County. Keith has been held in the Boyle County jail without bond since being charged Oct. 9.

Keith is charged with three counts of murder and one count of first-degree wanton endangerment in the deaths of 35-year-old Michael Hockensmith and his wife, 38-year-old Angela Hockensmith, of Stanford, and as well as Smith. The fatal shootings took place in a pawn shop co-owned by the Hockensmiths.

Investigators say Keith entered the ABC Gold, Games and More pawn shop in Danville, owned by the Hockensmiths and Steven Devine, on the morning of Sept. 20 and shot and killed the couple and Smith, who was a regular customer at the store.

The Hockensmiths’ two children, 9-year-old Andrew and 14-month-old Naomi, reportedly hid in a closet in the store as the murders occurred. Andrew reportedly called 911 after the shootings, and he and his sister escaped unharmed.

Friends and relatives of the Hockensmiths said the couple were acquainted with Keith, who was known to his friends as “Allen.”

Keith was pastor of Main Street Baptist Church in Burnside at the time of the shootings.