(CHARLESTON, S.C.) -- A man who police say confessed to killing multiple people pleaded guilty to 14 charges including murder and kidnapping Friday, after the family members of his victims delivered emotional statements about the pain he caused them.
Todd Kohlhepp wore an orange jumpsuit and chains in a South Carolina court on Friday, where he pleaded guilty in exchange for serving seven consecutive life sentences with no chance of parole. The solicitor agreed not to seek the death penalty as part of the deal.
Kohlhepp was arrested last year after Kala Brown, who had gone missing along with her boyfriend, was found chained on his property. Brown later told police she saw Kohlhepp shoot and kill her boyfriend, Charles Carver. Carver's body was later found in a shallow grave on Kohlhepp's property.
After Kohlhepp was arrested, police say he admitted that he had killed four people at a motorcycle shop in 2003. He pleaded guilty on Friday in connection with the deaths of seven people.
A Spartanburg County sheriff's investigative report says Kohlhepp "confessed to investigators that he shot and killed" the owner, service manager, mechanic and bookkeeper of Superbike Motorsports, a high-performance motorcycle shop in Chesnee, South Carolina. "Kohlhepp gave details ... that only the killer would know," the report says.
In a statement last year, the sheriff described Kohlhepp as “calm and polite” and said he gave his confession voluntarily.
Family members of the victims filled the courtroom to watch Kohlhepp plead guilty. Many shared how losing a loved one had had a devastating impact on their lives.
Melissa Ponder Brackman's husband, Scott Ponder, was killed in 2003 at the Superbike Motorsports. She shared how her husband's murder came just days after they went to an ultrasound for their first child together.
"He heard the heartbeat of my son just two days before he was murdered," Brackman told the court.
She also said that after her husband's death she has "lived the last 13 years in complete darkness."
The father of victim Meagan Coxie said, "May God have no mercy on his soul."
Brown's spokesperson told the court that she could not be there in person but that she "wants to thank everyone for the support."
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