Lawsuits against murderer Keith consolidated

Photo courtesy of the Roederer Correctional Complex
Kenneth Allen Keith is currently lodged in the Roederer Correctional Complex, in LaGrange.

Two wrongful death lawsuits against convicted murderer Kenneth Allen Keith were consolidated into one case Wednesday.

The two suits were filed by the families of Mike and Angela Hockensmith, after the couple was killed on Sept. 20, 2013. The cases had been held in abeyance until the criminal case against Keith was resolved. Keith pleaded guilty to the murders of the Hockensmiths and Dan Smith earlier this year and was sentenced to life in prison without the chance of parole.

Barbara Lewis, mother and administratrix of the estate of Mike Hockensmith, filed one of the lawsuits in June 2014. According to archives of The Advocate-Messenger, the complaint asked for $665,000 for lost wages and $7,341 for funeral expenses. It also sought an unsubstantiated amount of punitive damages and additional damages for the Hockensmiths’ two children.

The second lawsuit was filed by Mary Charlene Worley, mother and administratrix of the estate of Angela Hockensmith, in September 2014. Archives of The Advocate-Messenger state that the suit sought an unspecified amount of damages, alleging Keith “intentionally killed Angela Hockensmith ‘with malice’ and that her estate has sustained pain and suffering, loss of wages, funeral costs and other damages.”

Judge Darren Peckler granted Wednesday a recommendation that the two lawsuits be combined.

Winfield Frankel, a Danville attorney, has been appointed as guardian ad litem for Keith, who entered his guilty plea on May 26. Keith was sentenced to life without parole on the charges of first-degree burglary, first-degree robbery and three counts of murder. He is currently lodged in the Roederer Assessment Center in LaGrange.