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Jury undecided in Port Royal murder case -- deliberations to resume Thursday

Five hours was not enough time Wednesday for a Beaufort County jury to determine whether Kenneth Williams killed and robbed 81-year-old Jack Koch inside his Port Royal home in September 2007.

Circuit Court Judge Thomas Cooper sent the jury home at about 8 p.m. on the second day of Williams' murder trial after the five men and seven women failed to reach a consensus. Williams, 45, also of Port Royal, is accused of breaking into Koch's 16th Street Home on Sept. 8, 2007, beating him and stealing the elderly man's wallet.

"You're sending me notes that you're struggling," Cooper told the jurors. "I think it's best that you go home tonight, rest your minds and come back tomorrow fresh to resume your deliberation."

Neither Deputy Solicitor Angela McCall-Tanner or Williams' attorney, 14th Circuit Chief Public Defender Gene Hood, objected to releasing the jury, who were instructed by Cooper not to discuss the case with anyone. The jury will return at 9:30 a.m. today.

The jury heard testimony Wednesday from only two witnesses: a DNA analyst from the S.C. Law Enforcement Division and Dr. Michael Caplan, the forensic pathologist at the Medical University of Charleston who performed Koch's autopsy.

Caplan said the stress of the beating caused the 260-pound man to suffer a fatal heart attack.

"Mr. Koch had a significantly enlarged heart which was attributed to his obesity," Caplan said. "The trigger (for the heart attack) was the physical and emotional distress he sustained while being beaten."

Williams did not testify Wednesday, and Hood did not call any witnesses.

During his closing argument, Hood again tried to convince the jury that 41-year-old Timothy Clint Skinner attacked Koch. Skinner, who also is charged with murder, went with Williams, Jenny Lynn Chase and Lisa Schoenemann to Koch's home to get money to buy drugs and alcohol.

Chase testified Tuesday that Williams convinced her that Koch would give the group some money if she danced for the elderly man. She said she never saw Williams or Skinner hit Koch, but said Williams soon came back to the van the group arrived in with $57 he claimed to have borrowed from Koch.

"There is no doubt that Kenneth Williams was present at the scene of a crime that only Skinner committed," Hood said. "We don't know who the aggressor was. We don't know who started the fight. This is one of those cases where it's almost impossible to determine what actually happened that night."

McCall-Tanner dismissed the notion that Skinner was the assailant during her closing remarks.

"No evidence puts Timothy Skinner inside Jack Koch's house," McCall-Tanner said. "Kenneth Williams picked out the victim and says 'I know where we can get some money.'"

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.

Chase and Schoenemann face charges of serving as accessory after the fact of a felony.

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