Police: ‘Mr. Chess’ stabbed 140 times

Police: ‘Mr. Chess’ stabbed 140 times

By Matthew Glowicki, @MattGlo

April 16, 2015


“Ronshai Jenefor, the man accused of killing “Mr. Kentucky Chess” Stephen Dillard in March, told police he stabbed Dillard more than 140 times “because he was molesting me,” according to newly filed court evidence.

Jeffersontown Detective Ted Spegal spoke with Jenefor on March 13, the day of the arrest, and detailed his findings in an investigative report entered late Tuesday into evidence in Jefferson Circuit Court.

Jenefor, 21, lived with Dillard, 55, in his home in the 8900 block of Thelma Lane in Jeffersontown.

After Dillard didn’t show up for work at Carrithers Middle School two days in a row, his sister went to his home and found her brother lying face up in a large pool of blood stabbed and beaten on the floor of his bedroom.

An autopsy revealed more than 140 stab wounds from a kitchen knife to Dillard’s chest and stomach, Spegal said in his report.

Jenefor’s grandmother told police her grandson met Dillard through the young man’s older brother, who was one of Dillard’s former foster children, according to court records.

Jenefor’s aunt, Mary Jenefor, said Dillard was a long-time family friend who she considered to be part of their family.

“I love Mr. Steve,” she said. “Steve was always good to us.”

She said her nephew has suffered from mental illness in recent years, but that she has no idea what happened the day of the killing.

The court documents shed more light on Dillard’s past.

The Louisville Metro Police Department’s Crimes Against Children Unit had two cases where Dillard was named and forensic interviews were performed on two juveniles, court documents show. Those juveniles did not make any disclosures in their interviews, and charges were never brought against Dillard.

Nationally recognized for his love of chess, Dillard was a longtime teacher and was credited with bringing the game into schools by buying thousands of chess sets for kids in Kentucky who couldn’t afford them.

He also was a foster parent for private foster care company New Beginnings between 2000 and 2005, a New Beginnings employee told police. Dillard would supervise children for as little as a few days to several months, and to the employee’s knowledge, there were never any problems with Dillard, according to phone call recordings.

An employee with the Cabinet for Health and Family Services told police there was a pending CPS investigation related to Dillard, though the court documents don’t detail that investigation.

After neighbors described Dillard’s roommate to police the morning of March 13, investigators found Jenefor about a half-mile from Dillard’s home later that day walking in the rain, blood caked around the fingers of his right hand. He was charged with murder that afternoon and remains in custody at Metro Corrections on a $100,000 cash bond.

When Spegal asked Jenefor what happened to Dillard, Jenefor replied, “I stabbed him and killed him,” according to Spegal’s investigative report of their initial conversation, which was not recorded.

Two bloodied knives were eventually discovered at the crime scene, one on the day of the arrest on the first floor of the home, and another two weeks later by a family friend behind a file cabinet in Dillard’s bedroom, according to court documents.

Jenefor told police that, at the time of the stabbing, Dillard wasn’t molesting or otherwise endangering him.

Jenefor was eventually re-read his Miranda rights and his confession recorded by police, Spegal said, noting much of the initial conversation was recapped in the recorded statement.

That recording was not a part of the recently filed evidence due to technical difficulties, said Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Molly Cassady at a court hearing Wednesday. But she said it would be forthcoming.”


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