Serial Killer Todd Kohlhepp: A Devil on a Chain

by Wade Wainio about a year ago in guilty

The Twisted Dynamics of a Short-Range Rage Killer

Born in 1971, Todd Christopher Kohlhepp is a serial killer who murdered (at least) seven people between 2003 and 2016. Kohlhepp confessed to the 2003 quadruple homicide at the Superbike Motorsports in Chesnee, South Carolina, along with other crimes.

The Arizona Kidnapping, 1987

In 1987, Kohlhepp was living in Arizona with his father. Todd was arrested for allegedly kidnapping and sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl. He was only 15 at the time. He admitted his guilt to police, telling authorities he did it because he was enraged at his father.

The Judge had this to say about Kohlhepp: "At less than the age of nine, this juvenile was impulsive, explosive, and preoccupied with sexual content. He has not changed. He has been unabatedly aggressive to others and destructive of property since nursery school. He destroys his own clothing, personal possessions and pets apparently on whim and caprice."


Writing for Greenville News, Eric Connor described Todd's attitude as a "a road rage-style frustration with the world and a desire for an apocalyptic wave to rid him of insufferable fools."

It's also said that he "bleached a goldfish" as a kid, and was always having temper tantrums and not playing well with others. His product reviews on Amazon are now gaining notoriety. For example, his review of a knife read: “havnet (sic) stabbed anyone yet... yet... but I am keeping the dream alive and when I do, it will be with a quality tool like this...”

Another review for a hidden shackle padlock says "works great.. also if someone talks back.. go old school on them by putting this in a sock and beating them.. they will not appreciate the hardened steel like you will..." Another item was "blacker than my soul and priced right."

Of course, here's the funny thing: Posts like this might not mean someone's a serial killer, or otherwise violent. It could just be chalked up as dark humor, especially by someone with a dark sense of humor. That's one of many reasons why Kohlhepp wasn't 100 percent detected as a serial killer, along with his ability to sometimes appear professional, or even kind. There were signs of his "darkness," sure, but pissed off people with checkered pasts can be found all over the place. So, when he was known as a forty-something year-old real estate agent, not everyone might have suspected anything quite so drastic. Would you?

On top of that, it's also true that, when Kohlhepp started in the real estate business, South Carolina didn't require background checks for licenses. Also, even for those who knew about his past, there were signs that maybe he was a changed man. Some of his business associates described him as "an effective communicator and a pleasure to talk with."

The Compound

I hate to frame it this way, but when a guy starts erecting a chain-link fence, you know something might be up. That's just what Kohlhepp did, and it's said to have cost a whopping $80,000! While Kohlhepp could have been seen as a burgeoning survivalist, or as someone who took The Walking Dead too seriously (he was a fan), he probably didn't build the fence to survive an apocalyptic scenario. Signs now point to much more twisted intentions.

On of his neighbors was apparently suspicious of him before his sentencing, calling him “a devil on a chain.”

Whatever we wish to call him, Kohlhepp did kill Charles David Carver and kidnap Kala Brown in August 2016. Kohlhepp also masqueraded as Charles (or "Charlie David") on social media. Kala was found by tracking her cellphone (which proves that, as annoying as cellphones can be, they can still literally be a lifesaver).

Although David Carver was shot, Kala Brown was found alive, chained to the wall inside a storage container. Apparently, Kohlhepp says he didn't kill her immediately because she did nothing wrong, whereas Carver was shot for mouthing off. Similarly, it's said he shot those four at the Superbike place because, while trying to learn how to ride a motorcycle, they laughed at him for falling off. No doubt his rage boiled over harder when (supposedly) they didn't give him his money back.

Two other victims were found on Kohlhepp's property: Johnny Joe Coxie and Meagan Leigh McCraw-Coxie.

The Aftermath

Since Todd Kohlhepp's arrest, there have been a few interesting events. For one thing, a bunch of his personal possessions were put up for public auction. Also, police made the obligatory statement: "We’re going to search tomorrow for some [additional] potential victims [of Todd Kohlhepp].”

But the main thing is Todd Kohlhepp's prison letter to the Spartanburg Herald-Journal , where he said: “Yes there is more than seven.” Of course, serial killers often boast of having more victims, but fairly often it's believably true. Still, given that Kohlhepp was (apparently) mostly an opportunistic rage killer and not particularly elusive, it's possible that there were only seven, too.

Finally, a woman who was with Kohlhepp for ten years came forward: “I knew there was something that didn’t sit right with me about him, but I couldn’t really put my finger on it.”

On that note, one wonders how she stuck with him for ten years. According to the Independent, "the money she loaned him had been used to buy the storage container to lock up Ms Brown," and he had planned for Holly to be his next victim. In a way, this makes Kohlhepp an anomaly, as most serial killers don't target people they know, for fear of being suspected. Then again, it makes sense for this rage killer, and the so-called "Devil on a Chain," to have a short range.

How does it work?
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Wade Wainio

Wade Wainio writes for Undead Walking, and 1428 Elm.  He is also an artist, musician and college radio DJ for WMTU 91.9 FM Houghton.

See all posts by Wade Wainio