Family and friends of Sonsaray “Sonsi” Warford and Charles “Chew” Walker gathered Wednesday at the entrance of the Madison County Courthouse after the arraignment of Daniel Keene, 26, and Matthew Denholm, 27, the two men accused of kidnapping and murdering the Richmond couple in 2010.
Most of the group were wearing yellow T-shirts with a picture of Warford and Walker printed on them, and they have attended every court proceeding.
However, at this hearing, Laurie and Mark Flower also were there to offer their support.
The Flowers are the parents of Zackary D. Flower, who was allegedly shot and killed in his Berea apartment by Denholm in November. Denholm and his brother, Ryan Denholm, are charged with murder in that case.
The Flowers drove from their home in Lynchburg, Va., and met the families of Warford and Walker for the first time.
While gathered at the courthouse entrance, Warford’s mother Roslyn Martin turned to the Flowers and said “I haven’t met you, but I’m Sonsaray’s mom. I’m so sorry for your loss, we just have to hang in there.”
“We’re two praying mothers right here,” Laurie Flower said. “We’re here to support their family. We understand what they are going through a little bit. It’s different circumstances, but many are the same. We love them. The more we support each other, the better we can get through this.”
Laurie Flower said that although she is not from Kentucky, she has trust in the judicial system, the police officers, the investigators and the prosecutor, Commonwealth’s Attorney David Smith.
“I have a lot of faith that they are going to do what they need to do to see that justice is done,” she said.
The choice on whether to seek the death penalty is up to the prosecuting attorney, and Smith previously stated he has not yet made that decision.
Warford’s father, Gregory Todd, said he wished the proceedings could move more swiftly.
“This is hard for us because we want to get this started,” he said. “We want to get our family members back so we can have a proper burial for them. That’s our concern right now.”
In March, Judge Brandy Brown ordered that the bodies of Warford and Walker, found buried in a field off Tates Creek Road, should remain preserved for evidence.
During Wednesday’s arraignment, Denholm and Keene’s attorneys both waived a formal reading of the indictment and Judge Jean C. Logue accepted a “not guilty” plea from both defendants.
The attorneys told Logue they had made preliminary arrangements to start exchanging evidence soon and requested a hearing date.
“We have court on a regular basis, but this might take you a few extra months to prepare,” the judge said.
When they were called to stand before the judge, Denholm and Keene both shuffled past the victims’ families, cuffed and shackled with their eyes averted to the ground.
Keene momentarily looked up at the group dressed in yellow while he was speaking with his attorney, Bobby Amburgy.
“There was no remorse on their faces at all,” Walker’s aunt Amy Burbridge said of the defendants.
“We can hardly look at them,” said Martin. “But I’m willing to wait the wait, and I can do this for my daughter Sonsaray, and be strong for her. I know it’s going to take time.”
The a pretrial conference in the case is scheduled for Sept. 19 at 1:30 p.m.
Register News Writer Sarah Hogsed contributed to this story.
Crystal Wylie can be reached at email@example.com or 623-1669, ext. 6696.
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