Years after indictment, family looking for justice in murder of couple

Jakolbe Chenault is charged with two counts of complicity to murder and complicity to kidnapping. (Photo: Madison County Detention Center)
Jakolbe Chenault is charged with two counts of complicity to murder and complicity to kidnapping. (Photo: Madison County Detention Center)(WKYT)
Published: Oct. 17, 2019 at 4:19 PM EDT
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Three years after being indicted on complicity charges of kidnapping and murder, Jakolbe Chenault appeared in court on Thursday.

"We're grateful today that we're at this point because it's been on a day-to-day basis that we've been waiting on these phone calls," says Delisha Walker. She’s Charles Walker’s cousin.

Back in June of 2010, Charles Walker, along with his girlfriend, Sonsoray Warford, was kidnapped and brutally murdered. Their bodies were found in Madison County in 2012.

The two men charged in their murder, Daniel Keene and Matthew Denholm, are serving time in prison. Investigators learned Keene and Denholm had been hired to commit the crime.

As the investigation continued, and years passed, Lebruce Ellington eventually admitted to his role as the middle man in the deaths of Walker and Warford. That was in 2016. As part of a plea deal, Ellington told a court Jakolbe Chenault paid him $50,000 to hire someone to kill Charles Walker.

Chenault was then indicted in the case. At the time of his indictment in 2016, however, he was already serving in a South Carolina federal prison for leading a large cocaine trafficking ring.

Today, nearly 3 years after being indicted, Chenault finally appeared in court to answer to several charges, including two counts each of complicity to murder and complicity to kidnapping in connection to the deaths of Walker and Warford.

This is the first time the families of the victims have seen Chenault in years, and when he entered the courtroom, it brought back a lot of emotion.

"To see him now and what he's done and with that smile on his face, it just went through me,” says Warford’s father, Gregory Todd. “It was hard to look at him, but I wanted him to know we were there."

The two families have stuck together in the nine years that have passed since the Richmond couple was found buried in a ditch.

The families say they miss Charles and Sonsoray every day.

"Caring, loving, would do anything for anybody," Todd says of his daughter.

During his arraignment, Chenault entered not guilty pleas, but the two families say they're ready for justice.

"The not guilty plea, we don't care anything about that because we know in our hearts that what stands behind him, he's guilty," says Walker.

Prosecutors are recommending that Jaklobe Chenault serve life without parole. His next court date is in December.

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