Crime

August trial set for ex-preacher in 2013 Danville pawn shop killings

The trial for Kenneth Allen Keith, accused of a triple murder in Danville in 2013, is scheduled for Aug. 10.
The trial for Kenneth Allen Keith, accused of a triple murder in Danville in 2013, is scheduled for Aug. 10. gkocher1@herald-leader.com

More than three years after three people were shot to death in a Danville pawn shop, a judge scheduled a trial in August for Kenneth Allen Keith.

Boyle Circuit Judge Darren Peckler also refused a defense request to suppress evidence at the trial. Peckler set the trial date Tuesday during a status hearing.

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 September 2013 in a Danville pawn shop co-owned by the Hockensmiths.

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.

In an order issued last week, Peckler denied a defense motion that said search warrants relied on false or misleading statements, and that any evidence gathered as a result of the warrants should not be presented at trial. The warrants were for the pawn shop, the Burnside church and parsonage, and two vehicles owned by Keith and his wife.

Peckler wrote that he found no evidence that police acted in bad faith or in an objectively unreasonable manner in the preparation of affidavits or warrants.

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