The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

CNHI Specials

October 10, 2013

Pastor charged with killing 3 at Ky. pawn shop

SOMERSET, Ky. — A pastor from a small Kentucky town is accused of killing the husband-and-wife owners of a pawn shop and one of their customers, all while the owners' children were nearby.

Kenneth Allen Keith, 48, is the pastor of Main Street Baptist Church in Burnside, Ky., as well as owner of another pawn shop in nearby Somerset. He was arrested at his shop Wednesday night and charged with three counts of murder and one count of first-degree robbery, police said.

Police say Keith entered the ABC Gold, Games and More shop in Danville – about 40 miles north of Somerset – on Sept. 20 and killed Michael Hockensmith, 35; his wife, Angela Hockensmith, 38; and Daniel Smith, 60.

Police said the Hockensmiths' children, a 9-year-old boy and 1-year-old girl, were in the store when the shooting happened but were unharmed. The 9-year-old called 911.

Michael Hockensmith's brother, Tony Hockensmith, told the Lexington Herald-Leader that Keith was his brother's former pastor, as well as the previous owner of the pawn shop where the shooting happened.

"Everybody's in shock. He (Keith) was at the funeral," Tony Hockensmith told the paper.

Police said Keith had "intimate knowledge" of the shooting, according to an arrest warrant obtained by the Herald-Leader.

Keith knew the number of gunshot wounds one of the victims suffered, as well as details about the robbery, according to the warrant. Witnesses described seeing a man who looked like Keith leaving the pawn shop around the time of the shooting, and nearby surveillance cameras captured images of a vehicle that looked like Keith's silver 2008 Dodge Caravan, the warrant said.

After Keith's arrest at his Gold Rush Gold Buyers shop Wednesday night, investigators were seen searching the business and removing documents. Police also searched Keith's home near the church in Burnside.

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