Local

Murder trial witness recounts plan to 'entertain' old man in order to fund drugs

Kenneth Williams and Chief Public Defender Gene Hood look on as Williams' murder trial begins Tuesday morning at the Beaufort County Courthouse. Williams is accused of beating an 81-year-old man during a robbery, causing him to have a fatal heart attack. Three others are charged in the incident.
Kenneth Williams and Chief Public Defender Gene Hood look on as Williams' murder trial begins Tuesday morning at the Beaufort County Courthouse. Williams is accused of beating an 81-year-old man during a robbery, causing him to have a fatal heart attack. Three others are charged in the incident. JONATHAN DYER | The Beaufort Gazette

Out of money, drunk and high on crack, Jenny Lynn Chase and three others went to Jack Koch's Port Royal home the night of Sept. 8, 2007, to turn the old man on.

Robbing and murdering were never part of the plan when Chase, Kenneth Williams, Timothy Skinner and Lisa Schoenemann arrived at the 81-year-old's home on 16th Street, Chase told jurors Tuesday during the first day of Williams' murder trial.

Williams, 45, is accused of beating Koch and stealing his wallet. The other three will be tried on various charges later.

Williams wanted Chase to dance for the man so they could get some cash to keep the party going that night, she said.

"The drunker I got, the more inviting the thought became to go dance for this guy and make some money," Chase said. "There was never any talk of robbing someone and there was never any talk of murdering someone."

Chase, 34, charged with accessory after the fact of a felony, was the final witness to testify Tuesday at the Beaufort County Courthouse.

Koch's son found him dead several hours after the attack, lying face-down in a pool of blood in the kitchen doorway, according to investigators.

Deputy Solicitor Angela McCall-Tanner said the stress of the beating caused Koch to suffer a fatal heart attack.

"While he was on the floor dying, they ripped his wallet out of his pants pocket," McCall-Tanner said during her opening statement. "You know how much money they got that night at the expense of Jack Koch's life?

"Fifty-seven dollars."

Chase said she never danced for Koch and quickly returned to the van the group arrived in, leaving Williams and her boyfriend at the time, 41-year-old Timothy Clint Skinner, on the front porch of Koch's home.

She said she never saw Skinner or Williams hit Koch but said Williams soon came back to the van with $57 he claimed to have borrowed from Koch.

Investigators linked Williams to the crime after finding several drops of his blood on Koch's front porch, investigators testified Tuesday. Williams knew Koch and performed yard work and other odd jobs for him.

Williams' attorney, 14th Circuit Chief Public Defender Gene Hood, said his client was close to Koch and hinted that Skinner attacked Koch.

"(Williams) called Mr. Koch 'Pops,'" Hood said during his opening statement. "He didn't have a motive. He never wanted to hurt Mr. Koch."

Skinner also is charged with murder, though Circuit Court Judge Thomas Cooper ruled Monday that Williams and Skinner could not be tried at the same time. A trial date for Skinner has not been set.

Schoenemann, 42, who also testified Tuesday, was charged as an accessory after the fact.

  Comments