Pastor's attorney: 'They've got the wrong man'

Kenneth Keith
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PULASKI COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - Pastor Kenneth Keith sits in jail charged with three counts of murder and one count of robbery, police say he was behind the crime at a Danville store. However Keith told his attorney on Thursday, when they first met, that he's innocent.

"He did not do this! They have the wrong man!" exclaimed Keith's attorney, Mark Stanziano, adding that he believes there is a real suspect still running free.

The defense attorney also said the pastor is in good spirits despite being put on suicide watch at the Boyle County Detention Center. He explained that Keith is only on the watch because of the nature of the charges and because he's never been in a jail. Stanziano said this is fairly typical.

The suspect's attorney also explained how he will be keeping a close watch on Keith's health, as the pastor is in remission from brain cancer. Stanziano said Keith's family told him that Keith struggles with tumors.

Family of the victims can't believe someone they knew could be the prime suspect in the investigation.

"I'm very angry at this point to know that I personally knew this person, and that he would stoop that low," said Charlene Worley, Angela Hockensmith's mother.

As the case continues, there is a lot to learn about the man in jail, the same man police say in an affidavit matches the description of the suspect given by witnesses on that September day.

"No one described it as Mr. Keith, but someone who is big and heavy," countered Stanziano. "Okay, well this is America we have a lot of big and heavy people, especially in Kentucky."

Police also said in the affidavit that the witness description of the vehicle seen leaving the area on the day of the crime is similar to Keith's silver mini-van. However, possibly the biggest detail released in the affidavit, was the statement where police say witness interviews revealed Keith knew intimate details of crime. The document cited Keith as knowing the number of wounds one victim had and details pertaining to the robbery.

Stanziano sees a different issue, "The police need to look, they've got a leak."

He went on to elaborate that he believes someone inside the investigation has been talking, and that in a small community, like Danville, information spreads quickly.

Stanziano said there are still a lot of unanswered questions, especially about what's being alleged of his client. Although this attorney took offense to the way police searched Keith's home at the Main Street Baptist parsonage. Stanziano said the family described for him the way the search was executed.

"They ransacked the parsonage. I looked at pictures that had been taken of the damage done to this place, this is Gestapo tactics. They turned over the house and left it in a mess. This is unprofessional police work, this is not how you conduct a search!" he said.

Still, Keith sits and waits for a hearing that has yet to be scheduled, and until then Stanziano said he can't wait to see what evidence the investigators have against the pastor.

"Because in my view, if they have a mountain of evidence against him, they didn't need a confession," he stated.

Police arrested Keith at his business, Gold Rush Gold Buyers in Somerset, on Wednesday. Investigators served a search warrant at that location, along with Keith's church and home.

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