RUSTBURG — An Evington man pleaded guilty Monday to capital murder from an October beating and shooting that killed his neighbor.
Tony Allen Kidd, 54, faced a total of nine charges in connection with the death of Robin Chenault and the beating of her husband, Dale Chenault.
Kidd was flanked by his attorney, Kevin Bailey, and two other capital defense attorneys Monday as he answered questions from Campbell Circuit Court Judge John Cook. Eyes downcast, he answered many of Cook’s questions about understanding his guilty pleas with a short, gravelly “Yes.”
Dale Chenault testified at Kidd’s preliminary hearing in March, but was not in the courtroom Monday to see his wife’s killer sentenced.
According to his testimony from the preliminary hearing, his wife had taken Kidd’s girlfriend to a safe place after Kidd was charged Oct. 5 with assaulting her. The pair lived across the street from the Chenaults and would visit them from time to time, he said.
Kidd came to their Lucinda Drive house the night of Oct. 5 but left after Chenault brought his gun outside, thinking he was confronting a stranger who had approached their vehicles. Chenault described that encounter as “scary” and said Kidd told him the Chenaults had ruined his life.
The following morning, Kidd returned with a sledgehammer to break open their door.
Kidd beat both his neighbors with the sledgehammer, leaving Dale Chenault with a broken eye socket among other injuries. He then took a handgun Chenault had retrieved and shot both neighbors.
Dale Chenault, who was 69 at the time, survived gunshot wounds that passed through his hand and torso. Law enforcement officers found Robin Chenault, 65, dead in a recliner with a gunshot wound to her chest and blunt-force trauma to her head, according to testimony in March.
Kidd was caught later that day in Dale Chenault’s vehicle after a shootout with police. He was sentenced to 50 years’ imprisonment in May on charges from that shootout.
During Monday’s hearing, Campbell County Commonwealth’s Attorney Paul McAndrews said he’d discussed the capital case “at length” with Dale Chenault before seeking a plea agreement. Because a capital murder conviction can result in the death sentence, defendants are granted a number of resources from the state to aid in their case. Such cases frequently take years before concluding, and trials typically last days or weeks.
“His overwhelming desire is to have this over with,” McAndrews said of Chenault.
After the hearing, he said that because one family was the victim of Kidd’s actions, it’s important for him to listen to their wishes, adding the plea agreement “wasn’t an easy decision.”
Every development in a capital case, McAndrews said, can prompt a “shot of fear” in surviving victims and serve as a painful reminder of the incident.
Fred Parrish said he’s attended every one of Kidd’s hearings to see what would happen to the man who killed his mother.
Having watched the hearing with his wife and son Monday, he said afterward Dale Chenault, who married his mother when he was four years old and whom he calls “Dad,” is doing fine in his new home elsewhere in Virginia.
“He’s strong,” he said of Chenault.
While Parrish said his father could probably brave a capital murder trial, he said, “The preliminary hearing was hard enough,” and added he respects his father’s wishes.
“[Kidd] does not deserve to be alive, and if life is going to be a living hell, let life be a living hell,” he said.
Members of Kidd’s family also were present Monday and wept as he was sentenced. They left the courthouse without speaking to reporters.
Bailey, who also represented Kidd on his other set of charges from the shootout with police, said the proffer of evidence McAndrews recounted would be sufficient evidence for convictions for all nine charges. He confirmed with Cook the plea would be in Kidd’s best interest.
Monday’s hearing lasted about 15 minutes.
Kidd received three life sentences for his capital murder charge and two robbery charges, along with 36 more years for his remaining charges. Judge Cook also ordered him to pay more than $4,000 in restitution.
Before being sentenced, Kidd simply told the court, “I’m sorry.”