Danville, KY —
A preliminary hearing in the case of the Burnside pastor accused of killing the owners of a Danville pawn shop had been scheduled Wednesday. However, that changed when Kenneth Allen Keith was indicted on three counts of murder earlier in the week.
A Boyle County grand jury returned the indictment on Monday, which also charges Keith with first-degree robbery and burglary counts, according to information from the Danville Advocate-Messenger newspaper.
As such, Keith’s next court appearance will be on Tuesday, November 5, an arraignment in Boyle County Circuit Court.
Keith’s defense attorney, Somerset’s Mark Stanziano, said that there were no harmful ramifications from this development for his client. He framed the move as a sort of stall tactic by the prosecution.
“I wouldn’t give me a chance to cross-examine a copy at a preliminary in a circumstantial evidence case,” said Stanziano. “It is a circumstantial evidence case. Any holes we start poking in it now would start hurting the narrative that they (the prosecution) are trying to get people to believe.
“I think they don’t want to lose control,” he added. “They want to get another document out there (saying) that (Keith) is charged again, so (it looks more like) he must be guilty before there’s any presentation of any sort.”
Keith, 48, a pastor at Main Street Baptist Church in Burnside, was arrested on Wednesday Oct. 9 at Gold Rush Gold Buyers, his Somerset-based store.
He is charged in connection with the Sept. 20 deaths of Michael Hockensmith, 35, Angela Hockensmith, 38, and Daniel P. Smith, 60.
Keith knew the Hockensmiths, who owned the ABC Gold, Games and More with co-owner Steven Devine, which is the Danville store where they and Smith were gunned down.
The indictment of a person by a grand jury is an accusation only, and that person is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty or otherwise pleads guilty.