Families find some measure of relief in Kohlhepp's plea
Todd Kohlhepp entered the Spartanburg County Courthouse on Friday, handcuffed and clean shaven, facing six rows of lives he destroyed and ready to accept a plea deal that would give him seven life sentences without the option of parole or appeal plus another 60 years -- all of it for murder, kidnapping and criminal sexual conduct.
Solicitor Barry Barnette revealed new details about the murders of four people at Superbike Motorsports in 2003, saying Kohlhepp did it because the owners made fun of him for his inexperience on a motorcycle.
“Scott and Brian were jokesters, but I can't see them just literally criticizing him, berating him, so that's just his sick mind,” Brian Lucas' mother, Lorraine Lucas, said.
Lucas' son and three other Superbike Motorsports employees, including store owner Scott Ponder, Ponder's mother, Beverly Guy, and another employee, Chris Sherbert, were gunned down Nov. 6, 2003.
Barnette said Kohlhepp went to the shop, stalled to give the managers time to show up, and then proceeded to shoot and kill them, shooting Scott Ponder again as he stepped over him.
Thirteen years later, Kohlhepp said he killed three other people and buried them on his property.
Two of those people were Meagan and Johnny Coxie.
Barnette said Meagan Coxie was placed in the same shipping container as Kala Brown and after six days, Kohlhepp took her out and shot her in the back of the head. Kohlhepp had already shot and killed her husband, Johnny.
“This was a death penalty case, no question about it," Barnette said. "But it's not fair for these family members to wait years and years and years for justice.”
Family members of loved ones in that case, as well as those in other cases nearly 13 years later, were glad the plea deal means case will be over.
“Relieved that the killer was put away,” said Chuck Carver, the father of Charlie Carver, Kala Brown's boyfriend who was shot and killed.
“To me, closure is when you can bring him back and you can go on with the way that … that will never happen. So, while I don't have closure, I have all the peace in the world,” said Melissa Brackman, the widow of Scott Ponder.
Both of them got to join 12 others in confronting Kohlhepp during the hearing.
Kohlhepp mostly stood looking forward, with the only noticeable reaction a head nod when Terry Guy said, "I hope one day you can find God."
"That makes me think there's always hope. I actually didn't want to smile, but I did inside when I seen him do that,” said Guy, the widower of Beverly Guy and father of Scott Ponder.