Recollections by colleagues and neighbours reveal a disturbing picture of South Carolinas Todd Kohlhepp, who, authorities say, killed seven people in 13 years and imprisoned a woman on his property
As he built a successful real estate firm, Todd Kohlhepps behavior struck some as odd: watching pornographic videos during work, making macabre jokes in marketing literature and openly discussing that he was a sex offender.
But he was also an award-winning agent described as a hard worker and good boss.
All the while, authorities say, he was hiding a grisly secret that included seven killings over 13 years. He gunned down four people at a motorcycle shop in 2003 and within the last year killed three more, authorities said. The crimes were uncovered earlier this month when investigators rescued a woman chained up in a 30-foot-long (nine-metre) storage container on his property.
He was the kind of type-double-A, hair-on-fire kind of guy … You felt that if he wanted to take you out, he could take you out easily, said Lawrence Shorts, a mortgage banker who worked on transactions with Kohlhepp.
Kohlhepp made ominous comments about having trouble sleeping and how he would know where people live, Shorts said. A neighbour, Scott Waldrop, said Kohlhepp bragged about chasing people off his rural property with an arsenal including guns with silencers and night-vision equipment.
Kohlhepp moved to South Carolina sometime after the 2001 completion of his 15-year prison sentence for raping another teenager at gunpoint in Arizona. He was in his early 30s and began studying at Greenville Technical College in 2003. While attending classes that November, he killed four employees at the Superbike Motorsports store in Chesnee, authorities said.
Those slayings went unsolved for 13 years. When Kohlhepp was arrested last week, the sheriff said he confessed to the bike shop shootings and pointed investigators to three shallow graves on his land.
Detectives notifying victims families of Kohlhepps confession said he was an angry customer at the shop. Motives arent clear for the more recent killings and the womans kidnapping.
Originally found athttp://www.theguardian.com/us