Commonwealth Journal

October 9, 2013

Memorial is Nov. 30 for victims’ 2 children

Public invited to event at Center

by Heather Tomlinson
Commonwealth Journal

Somerset —

The alleged killer behind a triple homicide at a Danville pawnshop has been arrested.
But the fact remains those left behind in the wake of the victims’ deaths need support as they try to move on after the tragedy. That’s why loved ones of two of the victims, Angela Hockensmith, 38, and Michael Hockensmith, 35, have decided to hold a benefit for the couple’s surviving children. 
The benefit is scheduled at 7 p.m.,  Saturday, Nov. 30, at The Center for Rural Development, and all proceeds will benefit the Hockensmiths’ 9-year-old son and 14-month-old daughter. 
Both children were at the Hockensmiths’ Danville store, ABC Gold, Games and More pawn shop on Sept. 20 when their parents were shot and killed, allegedly by Kenneth Allen Keith, 48, of Burnside. 
Local author Steven Dowell, the organizer behind the event, had been planning on holding a motivational seminar in November, but all of that changed after news of the Hockensmiths’ death was reported on Sept. 20.  
A third person, Daniel Smith, 60, of Richmond, was also killed in the incident.
“As soon as it happened, I knew the whole purpose of (the seminar),” said Dowell. 
The idea of a seminar had grown out of comments Dowell received after his book, “Tender Heart,” was published. The novel detailed a life full of struggles and dark times, and Dowell’s journey to overcome those struggles. 
Dowell had attended church for more than 20 years with Angela’s parents. He had known Angela since she was a child — although it had been years since he’d laid eyes on her. The Hockensmiths were Lincoln County residents at the time of the murder, but formerly of Somerset. 
They apparently had many, many ties to Somerset. 
Angela Hockensmith was a 1993 graduate of Somerset High School. Although Michael Hockensmith didn’t hail from the Somerset area — he graduated from Georgetown High School in 1996 — he has ties to the area as well. 
The two had attended Ferguson Baptist Church, where Michael Hockensmith surrendered to the Christian ministry. Angela Hockensmith also sang with the Somerset Community College Choir as well.
Along with being the parents of two children, the couple also hosted an exchange student. 
Police reported not long after the murder that a 9-year-old, the Hockensmiths’ son, had called 911 about the murder. 
Now, the search is over for the alleged killer. Keith was arrested Wednesday afternoon in Pulaski County and charged with three counts of murder and first-degree robbery in connection with the homicide. Keith was allegedly a minister at Main Street Baptist Church in Burnside, and he owned the Gold Rush Gold Buyers pawn shop in Somerset. 
And Keith apparently had connections to the Hockensmiths. Keith and Michael Hockensmith reportedly worked with each other, and Michael reportedly came in contact with Keith through church during the couple’s time in Somerset. 
“I’m in shock of these developments,” said Dowell, about Keith’s arrest. “With it being another pastor ... just in shock.”
As the investigation unfolded, communities in Lincoln, Boyle, and Pulaski counties stepped forward to help the Hockensmith family — including Andrew, the 9-year-old, and Naomi, 14 months old. 
Dowell’s seminar has evolved into “A Night of Hoping and Healing,” a benefit specifically for the Hockensmith children. Dowell has mostly relied on social media to get the word out. He’s directed the more than 6,000 people who are following the “In Memory of Michael & Angela Hockensmith” Facebook page to the event’s page as well. 
Several followers of that page expressed their thoughts soon after Keith’s arrest. 
“The killer is caught,” posted Tony Hockensmith, Michael’s brother, late Wednesday afternoon. 
“Glad to hear there has been an arrest in this case ... they all truly deserve justice!” said another Facebook user. 
The benefit is set for 7 p.m. at The Center. It will include speakers, an auction, and more. Dowell said Tony Hockensmith is expected to speak, along with local attorney Robin Wheeldon, among others. 
Tickets are $5 and are available at The Center, at the Heritage Christian Bookstore in Somerset, Joe’s Pawn & Loan in Eubank, and at www.authorstevendowell.com. 
All proceeds will go into a PNC bank account set up specifically for Andrew and Naomi.
“I truly believe this will be a night of destiny for all who attend,” said Dowell. “We will all leave changed.”