SPARTANBURG, SC (WSPA) – Almost seven months after a woman was found chained in a metal container on a Woodruff property where three people were buried, the man accused of perpetrating the crimes pled guilty to:
7 counts of murder
4 counts of possession of a weapon during a violent crime
2 counts of kidnapping
1 count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct
Todd Kohlhepp was sentenced to seven consecutive life sentences.
He was also sentenced to 30 years for first-degree and 30 years for criminal sexual conduct. All sentences run consecutively.
As part of the plea agreement, he’s expected to spend the rest of his life in the S.C. Department of Corrections with no chance of parole.
He also can’t appeal.
If he escapes, the State reserves the right to re-sentence him and seek the death penalty.
Solicitor Barry Barnette said “Todd Kohlhepp deserves the death penalty, but the reality of the situation is that our state doesn’t have a functioning death penalty. The last execution occurred in 2011 and the state’s supply of lethal injection drugs expired shortly thereafter. The victim’s families as well as Kala Brown wanted closure instead of the uncertainty of a death sentence.”
Family members of Kohlhepp’s victims addressed the court.
Kohlhepp killed Charlie Carver before holding Carver’s girlfriend, Kala Brown, captive for two months. Spartanburg County sheriff’s deputies found Brown chained inside a metal storage container on land owned by Kohlhepp.
Carver’s body, along with the bodies of Meagan and Johnny Coxie, were found buried on the property. Meagan and Johnny Coxie were a married couple who authorities say disappeared in 2015.
Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright said Kohlhepp has also confessed to killing four people at a motorcycle shop in November 2003.
Scott Ponder, Beverly Guy, Brian Lucas and Chris Sherbert were fatally shot at Superbike Motorsports.
“This is a big day, a long time coming,” said Sheriff Wright.