Friends remember Jeffersontown teacher found murdered in his hom - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Friends remember Jeffersontown teacher found murdered in his home

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JEFFERSONTOWN, Ky. (WDRB) – Authorities have identified Steve Dillard, 55, as the man found murdered inside his Jeffersontown home this week.

Dillard's friends say he was committed to children, chess and went out of his way to help those he loved. Those who knew him still cannot believe he's gone.

"He discovered me as a chess player," said Ryan Valez, a National Chess Master and Vice President of the Kentucky Chess Association.

"He bought my first chess set and my first U.S. Chess Federation membership, and he paid for my first entry fee into a tournament," said Velez, telling WDRB that Dillard was well-known in the chess community both in Kentucky and across the country.

"He is Kentucky chess. He built Kentucky chess from the ground up literally," Velez said.

Friends say Dillard also taught at Carrithers Middle School, spent several years at Kammerer Middle School and worked at the Christian Academy of Louisville.

When he didn't show up for a chess tournament on Thursday, Velez drove to his house.

"I didn't find him but I found the police at his house watching it and his house was wrapped in the police tape," he said.

Police found Dillard beaten and stabbed to death inside his Jeffersontown home on Thelma Lane.

Investigators say Ronshai Jenefor, 20, who also lived there, confessed to the killing.

He's charged with one count of murder and is being held on $100,000 cash bond.

"I mean I just started crying and the officer told me he couldn't tell me very much but that he had passed on, and I could tell something was wrong," Velez said.

Velez says Dillard loved chess as much as he did children and even ran a home for troubled youth.

"I mean that's who he reached out to, which is why his death is tragic. Because it's like his charity ended up ending his life," Velez said.

Velez will be taking over Dillard's weekly chess tournaments. He also says they're talking about setting up scholarships in his name and re-naming tournaments in his memory.

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