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Todd Kohlhepp: A Lesser Known, Modern Servant of Devil

Todd Kohlhepp had many weird habits. Leaving reviews on the tools he used to murder his victims was one of them
Todd Kohlhepp had many weird habits. Leaving reviews on the tools he used to murder his victims was one of them
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Todd Kohlhepp, a name that might make you double-check your locks at night, is an infamous American criminal. His resume? Serial killer, mass shooter, and not someone you’d want on your dating profile. From 2003 to 2016, he decided South Carolina was the perfect backdrop for his personal horror show, taking the lives of seven people. But wait, there’s more – he wasn’t just about murder; he added kidnapping and sexual assault to his list of hobbies. And if you believe his tall tales, he’s got a few more unconfirmed kills under his belt.

Born in 1971 in sunny Florida, Todd didn’t stick around, opting instead for the peachy vibes of South Carolina and Georgia. His life took a soap opera turn when he was two, with his parents splitting up. Mom took custody and quickly rematched, leaving Todd to start collecting daddy issues. He really wanted to hang with his biological dad, who was MIA for eight years.

Little Todd was not your average cookie-cutter kid. In nursery school, he was more ‘destroy’ than ‘play nice,’ terrorizing kids and their toys. By nine, he’s in counseling, labeled ‘explosive’ and weirdly into adult topics. Also, he was no Dr. Dolittle. His idea of fun with animals? Shooting dogs with BB guns and playing chemist with goldfish and bleach.

Dad chimes in, saying Todd’s emotional range was pretty much angry to angrier. The kid gets a three-and-a-half-month all-inclusive stay in a Georgian psychiatric hotel, I mean, hospital, for not playing well with others.

Fast forward to 1983, post another family split, and Todd’s off to Arizona to live with bio-dad, adopting his last name because, why not? There, he picks up wholesome family activities like collecting weapons and DIY bomb-making. Dad-and-lad bonding, right? But alas, daddy dearest was too busy juggling girlfriends, leaving Todd writing sad ‘I miss mom’ letters. And things are going to go south for Todd Kohlhepp.

The First Crimes of Todd Kohlhepp

In a startling incident that shook the community of Tempe, Arizona, on November 25, 1986, the then 15-year-old Todd Kohlhepp executed a harrowing plot. He abducted 14-year-old Kristie Granado, leveraging a .22-caliber revolver to ensure compliance. In a chilling sequence of events, Kohlhepp transported her to his residence, where he restrained and silenced her, proceeding to commit a heinous violation. In a twist akin to a dark fable, he escorted her back home, issuing a grave threat against her family should she reveal the ordeal. His actions led to charges of kidnapping, assault, and a dangerous crime against children.

Todd Kohlhepp in court

Todd Kohlhepp in court

1987 marked a turning point as Kohlhepp admitted guilt to the kidnapping, resulting in the dismissal of the remaining charges. The justice system handed down a sentence of fifteen years in prison, and Kohlhepp’s name was etched in the registry of sex offenders. Court records unveiled a complex psychological portrait: Kohlhepp was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and possessed an above-average IQ of 118, placing him in the 88.5th percentile. The presiding judge in the case provided a paradoxical view of Kohlhepp, acknowledging his academic brilliance while simultaneously cautioning against his behavioral and emotional instability. The judge expressed skepticism regarding Kohlhepp’s potential for rehabilitation. Echoing these sentiments, Kohlhepp’s probation officer penned a description highlighting his sense of entitlement. An interesting footnote comes from Kohlhepp’s attorney, who, at the time, did not foresee his client’s future actions. Kohlhepp’s initial years in confinement were marred by rule violations, some of which involved violence. However, post the age of twenty, he appeared to align more closely with institutional regulations, showing no further records of disobedience.”

Todd Kohlhepp is Released. But Is He Reformed?

So, let’s set the stage. It’s August 2001, and Kohlhepp is released from prison after serving a whopping fourteen years. Now, what does a person do when they’re finally free? They move to South Carolina, of course, where their dear old mother resides. While he was behind bars, Todd Kohlhepp decided to make the most of his time and pursue a higher education. He attended Central Arizona College and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in computer science. Once released, Kohlhepp wasted no time and hopped into the world of graphic design. From January 2002 to November 2003, he worked for a company in Spartanburg, showcasing his artistic skills and probably creating some truly unforgettable and grotesque designs.

However, our ambitious friend had bigger dreams, and so he embarked on a journey of higher education yet again. He enrolled in Greenville Technical College in 2003, hungry for knowledge and ready to conquer the business world. And boy, did he conquer! He transferred to the prestigious University of South Carolina Upstate and graduated in 2008 with a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration-marketing. Despite being a registered sex offender, Kohlhepp managed to pull off the impossible. He obtained a real estate license on June 30, 2006, by conveniently omitting his felony charge on the application. With his license in hand, he built a firm that employed a dozen agents. He was even recognized as a top-selling agent in the Carolina region.

Kala Brown found

Kala Brown was Found Like This

Kohlhepp was not just a real estate tycoon, he also had a taste for the skies. He acquired a private pilot license, soaring through the clouds with his own set of wings. And let’s not forget about his land purchase shenanigans. In May 2014, he bought nearly 100 acres of land in Moore, for a staggering $305,632. To protect his newfound kingdom, he decided to set a fence around the property, costing a jaw-dropping $80,000. Talk about going the extra mile to keep intruders out. Or maybe he was worried about curious neighbors stumbling upon his secret evil lair. According to a customer who sold her home to Kohlhepp, he was quite the charmer. Outgoing and professional, he had a knack for making deals and putting a smile on people’s faces. But here’s the twist: he had a peculiar habit of talking about his firearms and subtly sprinkling sexual innuendos into their conversations. Because nothing says “real estate transaction” like a good ol’ gun reference and a cheeky innuendo, right?

On the other hand, a woman who assisted one of Kohlhepp’s employees had a different experience. She described him as angry and condescending towards her partner. Furthermore, Kohlhepp was a regular at a Waffle House in Roebuck, where his peculiar behavior left waitresses utterly perplexed and disturbed. It got so bad that the male cook even had to step in and take Kohlhepp’s orders for them. And to add to the twisted plot, the waitresses happened to be Meagan Leigh McCraw-Coxie, one of Kohlhepp’s unfortunate victims.

The Murders by Todd Kohlhepp

On November 6, 2003, an incident of significant gravity occurred at Superbike Motorsports, a motorcycle establishment in Chesnee. Four individuals were tragically found deceased on the premises. The deceased were identified as Scott Ponder, the 30-year-old owner; Brian Lucas, 29, serving as the service manager; mechanic Chris Sherbert, 26; and Beverly Guy, 52, the bookkeeper and mother of Mr. Ponder. Investigations revealed that each victim succumbed to multiple gunshot wounds. For a prolonged period, until 2016, the identity of the assailant remained a mystery. Initial investigative theories posited that the perpetrator, armed with a pistol, entered the establishment from a rear entrance, initially targeting Mr. Sherbert in his work area. Subsequently, the assailant fatally wounded Ms. Guy in the showroom, Mr. Lucas near the primary entrance, and Mr. Ponder in the parking area. In 2016, a confession by Todd Kohlhepp brought clarity to these unsolved crimes. Insights into the motive behind these heinous acts emerged from statements by Mr. Ponder’s spouse, who described Mr. Kohlhepp as a discontented customer with prior visits to the shop. Additional context was provided by Mr. Kohlhepp’s mother, who recounted an incident where Mr. Kohlhepp’s attempt to return a motorcycle was met with derision from the staff, exacerbating his disgruntlement.

On August 31, 2016, the disappearance of Kala Brown, aged 30, and her partner, Charles David Carver, 32, occurred following their visit to one of Mr. Kohlhepp’s properties for maintenance work. Later investigations led to the grim discovery of Mr. Carver’s demise from multiple gunshot wounds on the same property. This case garnered heightened public attention, partly due to peculiar activity on Mr. Carver’s social media account post-disappearance, fueling speculation of external interference with his account. The breakthrough in Ms. Brown’s case came on November 3, when law enforcement officials located her, restrained inside a metal storage unit on the property. This discovery was facilitated by tracking the couple’s last known cellphone signals, leading to the detection of sounds from within the unit. Further examination of the property led to the discovery of Mr. Carver’s vehicle concealed in a ravine.

Kala Brown and Charlie Carver planned to do work on Todd Kohlhepp’s property the day they disappeared.

Kala Brown and Charlie Carver planned to do work on Todd Kohlhepp’s property the day they disappeared.

Ms. Brown’s account post-rescue included witnessing Mr. Kohlhepp fatally shooting Mr. Carver. According to Mr. Kohlhepp’s mother, Mr. Carver’s alleged confrontational demeanor contributed to this outcome. Mr. Kohlhepp justified retaining Ms. Brown, citing her innocence in the events. Despite this, Ms. Brown reported being subjected to repeated sexual assaults and intimidation during her captivity, with Mr. Kohlhepp using the presence of other victims’ graves as a deterrent against escape. Following Mr. Kohlhepp’s apprehension, the discovery of two more bodies occurred on his property between November 6 and 7. These were later identified as Johnny Joe Coxie, 29, and his wife, Meagan Leigh McCraw-Coxie, 26, both from Spartanburg and reported missing since December 22, 2015.

The couple, believed to have been hired for work on Mr. Kohlhepp’s property, met their end through gunshot wounds, with Mrs. McCraw-Coxie’s occurring around December 25 or 26 and Mr. Coxie’s a week prior. Identification was facilitated through their distinctive tattoos, as noted by the county coroner.

The Amazon Review Killer: Todd Kohlhepp

Following the rescue of Kala Brown (shared on Morbid Kuriosity Instagram), Todd Kohlhepp was promptly apprehended. In a subsequent negotiation with authorities, he consented to confess to the Chesnee shootings and the murders of the Coxies, conditioned upon specific personal requests. These included an opportunity to speak with his mother, pass a photograph to her, and transfer funds to a college account of a friend’s child. During his meeting with his mother, Kohlhepp reportedly admitted to the abductions and killings. His confession to the Chesnee incident was particularly revealing, as he disclosed details that had not been publicly disclosed.

Further investigations on Kohlhepp’s property unearthed a cache of weaponry, including 9mm pistols equipped with suppressors, various semi-automatic rifles, and a substantial quantity of ammunition. Notably, there was no official record of a background check under Kohlhepp’s name for firearm purchases, leading investigators to surmise that these weapons were likely acquired illicitly. In the wake of Kohlhepp’s arrest, Spartanburg County authorities made a chilling discovery: multiple product reviews on Amazon.com, apparently written by Kohlhepp under the username “me.” These reviews, marked by a macabre sense of humor, included references to padlocks, shovels, tasers, and gun accessories. This behavior led to his infamy as the “Amazon Review Killer.” One particularly disturbing review for a padlock read, “solid locks.. have 5 on a shipping container.. wont stop them.. but sure will slow them down til they are too old to care.” Another, for a folding shovel, eerily noted, “keep in the car for when you have to hide the bodies, and you left the full-size shovel at home…. does not come with a midget, which would have been nice.” Kohlhepp’s “wish list” on the site was publicly associated with his name.

Amazon review killer

One of the many reviews Todd left on Amazon

In conversations following his arrest, Kohlhepp made alarming claims to his mother about the extent of his criminal activities, suggesting the existence of numerous other victims. When pressed for a specific number, his response implied a count beyond the capability of counting on fingers. During interrogation, he also mentioned a shooting incident in Arizona, leading to an investigation by the Tempe Police Department. This probe focused on unsolved homicides between 1983 to 1986, when Kohlhepp resided with his father, and from August 2001 to November 2001, the period between the completion of his kidnapping sentence and his return to South Carolina.

Additionally, on November 25, 2016, police in Greer, South Carolina, named Kohlhepp as a person of interest in a 2003 bank robbery and triple homicide at Blue Ridge Savings Bank. This crime occurred merely six months apart from the Chesnee shootings. However, as of May 16, 2018, no conclusive link between Kohlhepp and this crime had been established, and he has denied any involvement. Furthermore, in December 2017, Kohlhepp communicated with the Spartanburg Herald-Journal, claiming responsibility for additional victims yet to be discovered. Todd Kohlhepp faced serious legal consequences following his arrest. He was initially charged with four counts of murder in connection with the Chesnee shootings and one count of kidnapping pertaining to Kala Brown’s abduction. Subsequently, he faced additional charges, including three counts of murder for the deaths of Charles David Carver and the Coxie couple, an extra count of kidnapping, and three counts of possessing a weapon during a violent crime. At a court appearance scheduled for January 19, 2017, Kohlhepp’s legal representation waived their right to appear.

A report from WLTX indicated that the families of the Chesnee shooting victims initiated a wrongful death lawsuit against Kohlhepp. Furthermore, on December 1, it was reported that Kala Brown had filed a civil lawsuit against him. In a significant legal development on May 26, 2017, Kohlhepp entered a guilty plea to an array of charges, including seven counts of murder, two counts of kidnapping, and one count of criminal sexual assault. This plea resulted in a sentence of seven consecutive life terms without parole, part of a plea agreement that effectively removed the possibility of the death penalty. Despite assurances from his defense at sentencing that no further victims existed, Kohlhepp has since claimed responsibility for at least two additional murders. However, as of August 2018, he had not provided detailed information to the authorities regarding these claims. Kohlhepp is currently serving his sentence at the Lieber Correctional Institution.

Kala Brown's legs were bound at the ankles and she had a chain around her neck connecting her to the container.

Kala Brown’s legs were bound at the ankles and she had a chain around her neck connecting her to the container.

In an effort to support the victims’ families, an auction of some of Kohlhepp’s possessions was held in August 2020, with the proceeds being donated to them. The case also involves Dustan Lawson, who faced federal charges for illicitly procuring firearms and silencers for Kohlhepp, knowing of his status as a convicted felon. Lawson confessed to purchasing at least 12 firearms and five silencers between 2012 and 2016 under false pretenses. In 2018, he was found guilty on 36 federal firearm charges and sentenced to eight years and three months in prison. Lawson is currently incarcerated at Butner Medium I FCI, with a projected release date of November 12, 2024. In court, Kohlhepp was held accountable for his actions, pleading guilty to an array of serious charges: seven counts of murder, two counts of kidnapping, and one count of criminal sexual assault. His sentence reflected the gravity of these offenses, resulting in seven consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole. He is currently incarcerated in Columbia, South Carolina. The resilience and strength of Kala Brown, one of his victims, stand in stark contrast to the darkness of Kohlhepp’s crimes. When asked to convey a message to her captor, her response embodied both defiance and triumph over adversity. She stated, “He tried to crush me, but I’m not broken. He cannot destroy who I am… I won.”

RIP Victims.

Next, read about the Curse of Timur the Lame and then, about the Secret Society of Skulls and Bones! Only on Morbid Kuriosity!

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Written By

Abin Tom Sebastian, also known as Mr. Morbid in the community, is an avid fan of the paranormal and the dark history of the world. He believes that sharing these stories and histories are essential for the future generations. For god forbid, we have seen that those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.

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