Looking back, Roberta Shaughnessy can’t help but feel a little freaked out that a man who once had a key to her house could be linked to as many as seven deaths and imprisoning a woman in a storage building.
“Of course, right now I’m completely floored, and a little creeped out,” the mother of three said as news about her former real estate agent caused her to rethink her interactions with him in a new, sinister light.
She and her husband had signed a contract with Todd Kohlhepp to sell their home five years ago, and for several months, the convicted sex offender had access to their property, often showing it to prospective buyers when the family was away.
“We had no idea that he had just got out of prison so many years before. We had no idea that he was a registered sex offender,” Shaughnessy said.
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Last week, Kohlhepp, 45, was arrested and charged with kidnapping an Anderson woman who was found chained inside a storage building on Kohlhepp’s 95-acre property near Woodruff. He has since been charged with four counts of murder in the 2003 quadruple slayings at Superbike Motorsports in Chesnee.
Shaughnessy remembers him as a very outgoing person and a great salesman – but with some quirks that in hindsight give her chills.
He made a lot of jokes, some of them off-color. He talked a lot about his guns, his assault rifles, his BMW’s – and he sprinkled sexual innuendos into his conversation from time to time, she said.
“You think he’s saying things jokingly, but now you question, ‘oh, my gosh, was he really joking?’ ” she said.
She didn’t suspect him of having a violent nature, although she did see him get “flustered” a few times when he got phone calls, and “was always whining and complaining about having to go collect rent from what he called deadbeats.”
“He would say, ‘I’m just going to go shoot my guns and blow off steam,’ ” she said. “He would say all these things in such a sarcastic way that you never knew.”
It wasn’t sarcasm, though, that came across in phone calls to employees of The Greenville News advertising department. It was outright rudeness.
Yuvonne Goodwin, an account executive who worked with another employee in running display ads for properties Kohlhepp was listing for sale, remembers him as, “Not a nice guy.”
“He pretty much yelled and cussed my teammate out over the phone when he would speak to her. He was just very condescending,” Goodwin said.
Kohlhepp’s real estate license was suspended on Friday under an emergency order from the state Real Estate Commission, citing “public safety and welfare” concerns.
The Greater Greenville Association of Realtors issued a statement Monday saying that homeowners who had been working with Kohlhepp’s company can either withdraw their listings from the market entirely or withdraw them and re-list with their agent when they transfer to another firm.
“No Broker approval will be required,” the statement says. “We will provide a lockbox removal service to these sellers at no cost to them.”
The website for Kohlhepp’s company, TKA Real Estate, has been taken offline. But a version of the website from October identified Kohlhepp as the agent for at least eight properties listed for sale. According to the website, his company had offices in Greenville and Spartanburg.
One of his clients, Terri Chambers, expressed second thoughts about choosing Kohlhepp several months to ago to list her home in Taylors.
“I don’t like the fact that he had access to my home since June,” she said while carrying in groceries Sunday afternoon.
Chambers said Kohlhepp arranged numerous showings of her two-story home in the Pebble Creek subdivision.
“He liked to talk about himself a lot,” she said.
She said Kohlhepp talked about having a pilot’s license. He also talked about spending a lot of time on some land that he owned.
Kohlhepp also was listed as the agent for a 29-acre undeveloped subdivision north of Travelers Rest called Barnett Valley.
A short paved road leads onto the property. Several discarded TVs have been dumped in the overgrown vegetation of the property.