Crime

Attorneys await forensics report in Danvile pawn shop shootings case

Three people were slain Friday morning at the ABC Gold and Games pawn shop in Danville, police said. A 9-year-old boy called 911 and said there had been a robbery. Police found the boy and and a 20-month-old girl inside the building.
Three people were slain Friday morning at the ABC Gold and Games pawn shop in Danville, police said. A 9-year-old boy called 911 and said there had been a robbery. Police found the boy and and a 20-month-old girl inside the building. The Advocate-Messenger

DANVILLE — A forensic report in the case of accused pawn shop shooter Kenneth Allen Keith should be finished in the next 10 days to two weeks, Commonwealth's Attorney Richie Bottoms told a judge Tuesday.

Bottoms said he has been told that the report from the Kentucky State Police lab will be "significant" to the prosecution's case against Keith, 49, a former Pulaski County minister accused of shooting three people to death at a Danville pawn shop on Sept. 20, 2013.

"We believe it will be favorable to the commonwealth," Bottoms said after a status conference in Boyle Circuit Court. He declined to be more specific "without having something in hand."

The evidence tested "is not something that was just discovered in the last month," Bottoms said. "It's the results of testing we hope to have in hand within the next two weeks."

Defense attorney Bethany Stanziano said she learned about the forthcoming report on Tuesday. She told reporters that Keith had been "hopeful that we would receive a trial date today."

"He's frustrated, and I understand that he is," Stanziano said during the conference.

Bottoms said witness statements, photographs and other evidence collected during the police investigation have been turned over to the defense as part of the discovery process.

"Everything we've got, we have passed along," Bottoms said. "I know of no other evidence that is out there that needs to be tested or evidence that needs to be gathered that we haven't shared. As it's been reported to me, this will be everything that we have up to this point, and I don't anticipate anything further unless a witness or someone comes out of the woodwork that we don't know about. I don't expect that."

No trial date has been scheduled. Bottoms said he didn't think a trial could start any earlier than late spring or summer, but he said he doesn't know the judge's calendar. Stanziano also said she didn't think a trial would begin before late spring.

Keith, who was pastor of Main Street Baptist Church in Burnside, is charged with fatally shooting Michael Hockensmith, 35, and his wife, Angela Hockensmith, 38, both of Stanford; and gold broker Daniel Smith, 60, of Richmond.

The three were killed at ABC Gold Games and More in Danville, a store co-owned by the Hockensmiths.

The shootings happened in the presence of the Hockensmiths' 9-year-old son and 14-month-old daughter. The boy called 911 to report that his parents had been shot.

The prosecution filed notice in January that it intends to seek the death penalty. Keith is also accused of robbery and burglary in connection with the shootings.

Stanziano said there has been no discussion about moving the trial because of pretrial publicity. Boyle Circuit Court Judge Darren Peckler scheduled the next status conference in the Keith case for Jan. 6 in Danville.

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