Danville co-owner: Arrest is 'hard to believe'

Kenneth Keith
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DANVILLE, Ky. (WKYT) - It's been weeks since three people were killed inside a Danville store, and only five days since a suspect was arrested.

"There's no way to prepare yourself for a situation like this," stated Steve Divine, co-owner of ABC Gold Games and More.

Divine said this is the hardest time in his life, as he's left dealing with the loss of his friends, Michael and Angela Hockensmiths. Even more, their death, according to police, possibly came at the hands of another friend, Kenneth Allen Keith, a pastor and pawn shop owner.

"Always a super nice guy to me," he described, "I still find it very hard to believe that he did it."

Divine says he hurts for his friends and wants justice, but he cannot connect how Keith could be the man behind it all saying Keith was not the type to "carry grudges."

Case in point, he recalled a conversation shortly after the murders with a friend of Michael Hockensmith.

"One of the friends of Mike's that came in (to the store) one day, and asked, 'Do you think Allen could have had anything to do with this?' I told him, 'No way. No way, it's not in his personality.'"

Divine said he has plans to reopen the store, soon, and he hopes to give the sales proceeds to the Hockensmith's children. A part of that plan, until recently, was calling on Keith to come assist him in the buying and selling of gold.

"I don't have the experience that Mike had, or my son had, so I said, 'You know what, I'll call Allen, I'm sure Allen wouldn't mind at all to help me.'"

That was days after the deaths.

Now, newly released court records show investigators got a tip from an anonymous source in Michigan that had a conversation with Keith on September 20th, the day of the murders. The caller shed some light on the case, and said Keith started to offer a defense, unsolicited.

"If it's fact, you have to look at it and say 'Well, why would he do something like that, if he wasn't guilty?'" reacted Divine to this revelation.

The records went on to report that the caller was told by Keith that he had a theory the shooting was a "hit" on Daniel Smith, who was known to carry a large amount of cash. The caller asked if the Hockensmiths might have been innocent bystanders, but Keith reportedly "flipped a switch" and said they weren't innocent and that the Hockensmiths cost Keith a lot of money.

"There was issues there, but never seen this coming," said Divine, adding no one ever said there was any lingering bitterness.

While light is still being cast onto this case, Divine said he has a hole in his heart that won't soon heal and he said closure may never come.

"This will be with me for the rest of my life."

Keith is set to have a hearing on Wednesday at the Boyle County District Court. In the court documents, investigators report searching Keith's home, business, and even his cell phones looking for evidence. Police also got a search warrant to look at the Hockensmith's home.

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