South Carolina Serial Killer Todd Kohlhepp Pleads Guilty to 7 Murders But Won't Face Death Penalty
Todd Kohlhepp, a South Carolina man who admitted to killing multiple people while running a real estate business, pleaded guilty on Friday to seven murders over a 13-year period, PEOPLE confirms.
According to a press release from Spartanburg County Solicitor Barry Barnette, Kohlhepp, 46, agreed to a deal that gives him seven consecutive life sentences with no possibility of parole and spares him the death penalty. Kohlhepp has agreed not to appeal.
Kohlhepp faces an additional 60 years on kidnapping, sexual assault and other charges.
Kohlhepp was initially taken into custody after police freed missing Kala Brown, 30, on Nov. 3 from a metal shipping container on Kohlhepp’s nearly 100-acre property in Woodruff, South Carolina. Brown had been held in chains for more than two months.
Kohlhepp killed Brown’s boyfriend, 32-year-old Charlie Carver, who vanished with her on Aug. 31. Carver’s body was later found on his property.
Authorities said Kohlhepp, while in police custody, also confessed to the quadruple killings of Beverly Guy, Brian Lucas, Scott Ponder and Chris Sherbert — all shot to death in 2003 inside Superbike Motorsports in Chesnee, South Carolina.
• Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.
Kohlhepp’s sixth and seventh murder charges were in connection with the 2015 deaths of Johnny and Meagan Coxie, ages 25 and 29, whose bodies were recovered from Kohlhepp’s property after Brown’s rescue. They were reported missing in December 2015.
Meagan, the indictment reveals, was allegedly held in Kohlhepp’s storage container for about six days after she disappeared, chained at both the wrists and ankles.
According to a spokesman from the Spartanburg County Solicitor’s Office, family members of the victims wept as they addressed the court about their slain loved ones.
Scott Ponder Jr., who just completed seventh grade, said, “I’m always going to wonder what it would have been like if my dad was here,” NBC reports.
Allen Bickart, a defense attorney in Arizona who represented Kohlhepp when he was 15, described him to PEOPLE as “a very troubled, very vicious kid.”
Bickert represented Kohlhepp in 1987, after he was arrested for allegedly raping a 14-year-old neighbor at gunpoint in Tempe, Arizona, at the age of 15. Kohlhepp ultimately pleaded guilty to kidnapping, served prison time from 1987 to 2001, and was placed on the sex offender registry, according to records.
“He had some very, very, very serious issues,” says Bickart, who worked with a psychiatrist in an effort to get his client sent to a facility where mental health specialists could attempt to help the violence-prone teen — instead of prison. “He was off the edge.”