Trial begins in Port Royal murder case

By Jaime Dailey - bio | email

BEAUFORT, SC (WTOC) - Kenneth Williams is on trial for the murder of an 81-year-old Port Royal man.

Port Royal police say Williams and another man, Timothy Skinner, beat, robbed and killed 81-year-old Jack Koch back in September of 2007.

Police said Williams knew Koch and occasionally did yard work for him. In fact, they say he had just raked his yard just days before the murder.

Williams, known to many as "Sammy" sat in the courtroom Tuesday as both the state and the defense made their opening statements to the jury. Williams is facing charges of strong arm robbery, murder and first degree burglary.

Deputy Solicitor Angie Tanner told the jury it all happened on September 9, 2007 when Williams and three friends were partying.

"They were partying that night, drank beer, liquor, smoked crack, they were having a party and at some point they ran out, ran out of party goods," said Tanner .

She told the jury, Williams and his friends went to Koch's house that night looking for money.

"While he was on the floor, on his floor dying, they ripped his wallet out of his pants pocket and you know how much money they got for all their partying at the expense of Jack Koch's life, $57," Tanner said.

The Defense paints a different picture. Defense Attorney Gene Hood argued Williams went to Koch's house to bring him women he had asked for.

After opening statements, the state called a number of witnesses to the stand, Koch's son who first discovered his father's body inside the house and called 911.

Tanner also called the lead investigator, who showed the jury evidence found at the scene, including blood found inside the vehicle of the van Williams and his friends were driving around in the night of the murder.

Investigators also stated when they went to talk with Williams at his home, the day after the murder, he was washing his tennis shoes in his front yard. But when they went to look for them when he became a suspect, the shoes were gone.

They also told the jury Williams had a cut on his finger. When they asked him about it, he said it was from doing lawn work but they say he changed his story.

Timothy Skinner is charged with strong arm robbery, murder, first degree burglary and three counts of being an accessory before the fact.

Jenny Lynn Chase and Lisa Schoenemann are both charged with accessory after the fact for their part in this case.

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