The Richmond Register

May 24, 2012

Grand jury indicts men in double-murder

By Sarah Hogsed
Register News Writer

RICHMOND — Two men accused of killing a Richmond couple for money and then hiding their bodies in graves along Tates Creek Road were indicted Wednesday on capital charges by a Madison grand jury.

Matthew Denholm, 27, and Daniel Keene, 26, were both indicted on two counts each of murder, kidnapping and abuse of a corpse charges. They also were each indicted on tampering with physical evidence and first-degree burglary charges.

The indictments were returned around 2 p.m. and read by Judge Jean C. Logue. Commonwealth’s Attorney David Smith said he expected Denholm and Keene would be arraigned in Madison Circuit Court in mid-June.

Denholm and Keene could possibly face the death penalty in the case if they are convicted of murder. Denholm also is charged with murder in a separate, unrelated case in which he is accused of shooting a Berea man to death.

Denholm and Keene killed Sonsaray “Sonsi” Warford and Charles “Chew” Walker on June 29, 2010, according to the indictment.

A suspected drug dealer named Ja’Kolbe Chenault allegedly put out a “hit” on Walker for stealing Chenault’s money, according to an search warrant affidavit sworn out by Richmond Police Detective William O’Donnell. O’Donnell also testified during the closed grand jury hearing.

One of Chenault’s “lieutenants” hired Keene and Denholm for $10,000 to kill Walker, O’Donnell said. The two men allegedly abducted Walker and Warford from their Keystone Drive apartment and drove them to a field off Tates Creek Road in Richmond, according to testimony.

Walker was shot in the back of the head and stabbed, while Warford was shot, according to O’Donnell’s preliminary hearing testimony in district court. Although Warford was not the intended target, she was killed to eliminate a witness, according to the affidavit.

Walker and Warford were buried in graves along Tates Creek Road. Their families reported them missing, but it wasn’t until one of Chenault’s alleged dealers was arrested in October in connection with a hotel shooting that police got a break in the case. The man, Jermaine Carter, gave officers information about the killings in exchange for a plea deal on federal drug charges.

Chenault also is facing federal drug charges and is currently in prison.

When Daniel Keene was interviewed by police in late March, he confessed and led police to the bodies, O’Donnell said.

Keene and Denholm remain in the Madison County Detention Center under $2 million bonds.

Sarah Hogsed can be reached at shogsed@richmondregister.com or 624-6694.