Surprise guilty plea in Danville pawn shop triple murder in 2013

BOYLE COUNTY, Ky. (WDRB) -- The pastor accused in a triple murder at a Danville pawn shop pleads guilty and gets a life sentence. 

In a surprise move, Kenneth Keith changed his plea in Boyle Circuit Court on Friday morning, admitting he is responsible for the murders of Mike and Angela Hockensmith and Daniel Smith. Police found all three dead from gunshot wounds at ABC Gold, Games and More on South 4th Street in Danville on September 20, 2013. The Hockensmith's owned the shop and Smith was a customer.

Keith pleaded guilty to three counts of murder and waived formal sentencing. So the judge handed down three life sentences for the murder counts.  He also pleaded guilty to first degree robbery and first degree burglary and received 20 years for each.  The sentences will be served concurrently. 

Keith avoids facing the death penalty with pleading guilty. 

WKYT reports that family members of the Hockensmiths filled the courtroom on Friday, all wearing Superman shirts. Among those present, the Hockensmiths' son who was inside the pawn shop at the time of the murder. Daniel Smith's family was also present for the hearing.

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