By Sarah Hogsed
Senior News Writer
A third man has been indicted on charges connected with the homicides of Sonsaray “Sonsi” Warford and Charles “Chew” Walker, whose bodies were found this year after family reported them missing in June 2010.
LeBruce Ellington, 33, was indicted Wednesday on the charges of complicity to murder (two counts), complicity to kidnapping (two counts) and complicity to first-degree burglary.
The complicity to murder and kidnapping charges are capital offenses.
Ellington also was indicted as a first-degree persistent felony offender, meaning he has at least two prior felony convictions on his record.
Ellington and another man, Jermaine Carter, were arrested on federal drug trafficking charges in 2011, and they both offered information about the couple’s disappearance in exchange for plea deals, according to a federal complaint filed by Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco and Explosives Agent Russel R. King.
Ellington told police Jan. 27 that his cocaine supplier, Jakolbe Chenault, asked him in 2010 to hire someone to kill Walker. Chenault believed the man had stolen $180,000 from him, court documents revealed.
Ellington also told police Chenault gave him $10,000 to pay Keene and Denholm after the couple disappeared. Ellington was rewarded with a $5,000 “finder’s fee” for hiring the two men, according to the federal complaint.
In March, Richmond police Detective William O’Donnell interviewed Keene, and he confessed to the killings, according to O’Donnell’s preliminary court testimony. Keene then led police to the bodies, which were in shallow graves in a field off Tates Creek Road.
Warford was shot to death, while Walker was stabbed and then bled to death after one of the men slit his throat, O’Donnell testified.
Denholm and Keene are both charged with two counts each of murder, kidnapping and tampering with physical evidence. Denholm also is charged with murder in the unrelated November 2011 shooting death of a Berea man.
Denholm and Keene’s murder trial is set for Aug. 12.
Chenault was in federal custody when the bodies were found, and in October he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to distribute cocaine. The U.S. district attorney prosecuting the case has recommended a sentence of 30 years.
Several other members of Chenault’s drug ring have pleaded guilty to federal trafficking charges, including Ellington and Carter.