A hearing Thursday in a triple-murder case focused on discrepancies between witness accounts and information provided by a police detective in an affidavit for search warrants.
Defense attorneys argue that the affidavit had inconsistencies and thus not enough probable cause for police to search the church, vehicles and parsonage of Kenneth Allen Keith, the former preacher charged with murder in the 2013 deaths of three people at a Danville pawn shop.
But Danville police Det. Kevin Peel testified that he only included relevant information that was necessary to obtain the warrants.
Boyle Circuit Judge Darren Peckler won't rule on the validity of the affidavit until next year after the defense and prosecution have had time to submit written arguments.
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During the two-hour hearing, public defender Sam Cox asked about various discrepancies in statements from witnesses who saw a suspect just before or just after the shootings.
For example, some witnesses said the suspect wore an Army-type jacket while another said the suspect wore light-colored clothing. There were also inconsistencies in the descriptions about the color and length of the suspect’s beard.
Cox said afterward that he was not seeking to suppress a particular piece of evidence but was merely attempting to ensure that police complied with the law.
Commonwealth's Attorney Richie Bottoms said the prosecution wants the validity of the affidavit upheld because evidence gained as a result of the search warrants points to Keith's guilt
Keith, 51, former pastor of Main Street Baptist Church in Burnside, has pleaded not guilty to murder in the shooting deaths of Michael Hockensmith, 35, and his wife, Angela, 38, both of Stanford, and gold broker Daniel Smith, 60, of Richmond, in a Danville pawn shop co-owned by the Hockensmiths in September 2013.
Michael Hockensmith formerly worked for Keith at the pawn shop before assuming ownership and changing the business name.
If convicted, Keith could face the death penalty.