The Richmond Register

Local News

March 29, 2012

Double-murder suspects plead not guilty

RICHMOND — Two men charged with kidnapping, killing and burying a Richmond couple nearly two years ago pleaded not guilty Wednesday morning in Madison District Court.

Daniel Keene, 26, was arrested Monday night after he confessed to killing Charles “Chew” Walker and Sonsaray “Sonsi” Warford for money on June 28, 2010, according to court documents.

His alleged accomplice, Matthew Denholm, 27, also was arraigned in Madison District Court. He already was in custody after being charged with murder in the Nov. 21 shooting death of Zachary Flower.

Keene told police Denholm shot Warford in the back of the head, and stabbed Walker before cutting his throat, according to court documents. Warford was not intended to be a target but was killed because she was at the apartment with Walker when the two men allegedly kidnapped them. Walker and Warford had dated for several years.

Keene and Denholm face two counts each of murder, kidnapping and tampering with physical evidence. Denholm faces an additional charge of auto theft.

The case could be death-penalty eligible because two aggravating circumstances, an intentional murder of more than one person and a murder committed for money or profit, are present in the case. Under Kentucky law, the death penalty can be imposed after a murder conviction only if one of eight aggravating circumstances accompany the crime.

Walker and Warford’s bodies were discovered Tuesday in a field off Tates Creek Road, according to court documents. Richmond Police Department Maj. Bob Mott confirmed the two bodies had been there for “quite some time,” but declined to confirm the bodies’ identities until autopsy results are obtained.

Keene is being held in the Madison County Detention Center under a $2 million bond. Denholm has a $1 million bond.

Mott said no additional arrests had been made in the case as of Wednesday afternoon, but the investigation continues. Ja’Kolbe Chenault is named in court documents as the man who paid Keene and Denholm to kill the couple. Chenault reportedly believed Walker had stolen money from him.

Mott declined to comment on whether Chenault would be charged in the killings.

Chenault is currently in federal custody facing drug trafficking conspiracy charges and was originally slated for an April trial in Lexington. However, a motion to continue was filed Wednesday stating new charges against Chenault were being brought April 5 to the federal grand jury.

Keene and Denholm are scheduled for a preliminary hearing Friday in district court.

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

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