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No change of venue for Kenneth Allen Keith

By KENDRA PEEK
kendra.peek@amnews.com

Boyle County Circuit Court Judge Darren Peckler has denied a motion to move the trial of the man accused of murdering three people in a Danville store in 2013.

Kenneth Allen Keith, 51, will be tried in Boyle County for allegedly killing Mike and Angela Hockensmith and Daniel Smith.

“I agree with the judge’s ruling,” said Commonwealth’s Attorney Richie Bottoms. “I think the Boyle County citizens can very fairly try the case.”

Peckler heard a change of venue motion last week, which included the results of a survey created by Centre professor Mykol Hamilton and conducted by the Thoroughbred Research Group.

The results showed that 65 percent of the 401 people surveyed feel Keith is guilty of the 2013 murders. Hamilton said she felt this showed cause for moving the case to another court.

The Hockensmiths and Smith were found dead in ABC Gold, Games and More on South Fourth Street in September 2013. The Hockensmiths ran the business and Smith was a gold buyer. Keith was arrested in October and charged with the murders.

The trial has had many delays, beginning with forensic examinations that took longer than expected. Keith’s defense attorney Mark Stanziano was killed in early 2014; his widow and partner in law Bethany Stanziano recused herself in 2015. His current attorneys, Sam Cox and Teresa Whitaker, were appointed later in 2015.

Cox could not be reached for comment. Keith could face the death penalty if convicted.

Keith will return to court for a status hearing on Nov. 1.

Follow Kendra Peek on Twitter, @knpeek.