Commonwealth Journal

October 26, 2013

Affidavit: Shell casings from Keith’s pawn shop match

by Chris Harris
Commonwealth Journal

Somerset — New evidence has been uncovered in the case of a Burnside pastor accused of fatally shooting three people at a Danville pawn shop.

An affidavit signed on October 22 by Danville Police Det. Kevin Peel states that investigators recovered two shell casings from the Somerset business of suspect Kenneth Allen Keith, 48, that match those found at the scene of the September 20 shootings of Michael and Angela Hockensmith, owners of ABC Gold, Games, and More, and another man, Daniel Smith.

Keith, a Burnside pastor, pleaded not guilty to the three counts of murder and one count of first-degree robbery last week. On Monday, an indictment was return by a Boyle County grand jury accusing Keith of the murders and robbery and burglary counts.

According to the affidavit, the two .22 caliber casings found during the execution of a search warrant at Keith’s store, Gold Rush Gold Buyer’s Paradise in Somerset, were compared to the .22 shell casings recovered during the search of the Hockensmiths’ store the day of the shootings.

“Tests were conducted on these shell casings by the ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms) lab and one of them was found to have been fired from the same weapon that fired some of the .22 caliber casings recovered from ABC Gold, Games and More on the day of the murders,” reads the document.

“Additionally, four Fifth Third Bank money bands and a receipt belonging to Dan Smith dated September 19, 2013 were recovered during the execution of the search warrant at the Gold Rush Gold Buyer’s Business,” continues the affidavit.

The money bands, dated to September 17, 2013, were used to band together currency in stacks totaling $10,000 each, according to the document; investigators had previously learned that Smith had ordered $40,000 from Fifth Third Bank on September 17, and that he had picked it up on September 19.

“Evidence recovered during the execution of the aforementioned search warrants, including that listed above, implicated Kenneth Keith as being the one who committed the robbery and murders of Michael Hockensmith, Angela Hockensmith, and Daniel Smith,” reads the affidavit. “Certain items are being tested in forensic labs operated by the Kentucky State Police and the ATF for the presence of fingerprints.”

Another affidavit signed October 16 by Peel said that four cellular telephones were recovered during the execution of search warrants. An Apple iPhone was seized from Keith when he was arrested earlier this month. During the follow-up investigation, it was discovered that Keith used this phone to send and receive messages and calls to a cooperating individual who provided investigators with the details of these conversations, according to the affidavit.

During these communications, Keith allegedly made statements impacting himself in the robbery and murders of the Hockensmiths and Daniel Smith

The affidavit also says that it’s “more likely than not” that Keith used a .22 caliber Ruger pistol with a silencer/suppresser affix to it in the shootings, and that investigators discovered a receipt from Cummins Sporting Goods in Mt. Vernon, Ky., dated January 11, 2013 for an indicated purchase of a Ruger MK III .22 caliber pistol.

The other iPhone was taken from Keith’s wife Tracey when she was discovered at the parsonage during the execution of the search warrant there, said the affidavit, while the other two phones, a Samsung and a Motorola, are of “unknown origin,” according to the document, and that the were recovered from the parsonage and a Dodge Caravan belonging to Keith, respectively.

“During the follow-up investigation, a witness described seeing a man in the parking lot of ABC Gold Games & More at approximately (6:45 p.m.),” reads the affidavit. “The witness stated that the man was talking on a cell phone and that he appeared to be arguing with the person on the other end of the call. He also matched the description given by the child when he first called 911.”

Danville Police said following Keith’s arrest that the Hockensmiths’ two children were in the store when the shootings happened, and the 9-year-old reportedly called 911 after the incident occurred.

Keith was arrested on Wednesday Oct. 9 at Gold Rush Gold Buyers.

Other affidavits filed in Boyle County Circuit Court recently called for fingerprints and a DNA swab sample to be taken from Keith for examination.

Keith’s attorney, Somerset-based Mark Stanziano, told the Commonwealth Journal earlier in the week that his client was not present at the Hockensmith’s store at the time of the shootings and that this is a “circumstantial evidence case.”