The Richmond Register

State News

October 10, 2013

Pastor charged in triple murder attended two victims’ funeral

(Continued)

DANVILLE —

Keith’s arraignment is set for Wednesday in Danville. There was no indication yet whether Keith had obtained an attorney, according to the local circuit court clerk’s office.

A day after the killings, Keith expressed his sympathy on what appeared to be his Facebook page, according to the Commonwealth-Journal newspaper in Somerset.

“No sleep at all, I am just in shock right now over this loss of three great people. We never know what is coming on the next breeze so breathe deep the breath God gives you now,” Keith posted, according to the newspaper.

Relatives of the victims were left wondering what happened to land Keith in jail on charges of killing a close friend, his friend’s wife and another person.

Michael Hockensmith and Keith became friends years ago when Keith was youth minister at Main Street Baptist Church, Hockensmith’s brother said.

Their friendship turned into a business relationship. Michael Hockensmith worked at Keith’s pawn shops in Somerset and Danville. Wanting to run a business of his own, Hockensmith and his wife acquired the Danville pawn shop from Keith a few months prior to the shootings there, Tony Hockensmith said.

The transaction apparently didn’t go smoothly, he said, and there had been conflicts over certain terms. He didn’t know the details.

Also, Michael Hockensmith had been selling gold to Keith, who has a gold-buying business in Somerset, but had shifted his business elsewhere, the brother said.

Michael Hockensmith had followed his friend into ministry and served as a youth minister at a Baptist church near Danville.

He saw the pawn shop as an opportunity to reach out to those who might be in financial trouble, his brother said.

“He didn’t feel like you had to be in a church to be able to minister,” he said.

The Hockensmiths had two children, a 9-year-old boy and a 1-year-old girl. Both were at the store at the time of the shootings but were unharmed. They are now living with their grandparents.

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