Accused man's confession may be defense in teacher’s murder

Accused man's confession may be defense in teacher’s murder
Mary Jenafor (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Mary Jenafor (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Stephen Dillard
Stephen Dillard

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Ronshai Jenafor found family standing by him, and in tears within minutes Wednesday, during his second appearance in court on charges he murdered the mentor who gave him more than a second chance.

"People are making like my nephew's just a monster," Mary Jenafor said. "And he's not."

Stephen Dillard had been a foster father to Jenafor's late brother Joshua. He taught math in Jefferson County middle and high schools for years and was known as Mr. Chess for his mastery of the game and willingness to teach it to others.

[PREVIOUS STORY: Coroner identifies Jeffersontown stabbing victim]

"We went to the wake, the funeral," Mary Jenafor said. "We were treated like family at his funeral."

Ronshai Jenafor is charged with stabbing and beating Dillard to death little more than a month ago. Dillard's body was found in a bedroom of his home in Jeffersontown.

Open records reveal Ronshai Jenafor admitted his role in Dillard's death in a conversation with Jeffersontown Det. Ted Spegal that was recorded on his dash cam on March 13, hours after Dillard's body was discovered.

Det. Spegal: What led you to you stabbing and killing Mr. Dillard?
Ronshai Jenafor: He was molesting me.
Det. Spegal: Was that going on right then?
Ronshai Jenafor: (inaudible)

Ronshai Jenafor offered no more specifics as to whether the alleged molestation involved one incident or multiple incidents covering months or years.

"I trust Steve," Mary Jenafor said Wednesday. "I've known him since I was 14. I'm almost 30 now."

"Never did anything you might have thought untoward or inappropriate," a reporter asked.

"Not that I know of," she said. "Only God knows what happened.

Mary Jenafor attributed her nephew's alleged actions to mental illness.

"He was taking medication for it," she said. "I really don't want to get into details because I really don't know the diagnosis."

In court, prosecutors revealed they've turned over Ronshai Jenafor's juvenile records to his public defender.

"Most notably absent in the discovery thus far is the defendant's Mirandized statement," Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Molly Cassady told Circuit Judge McKay Chauvin. "There have been some technical difficulties in getting that statement."

Det. Spegal's dash cam audio recording does not include a reading of Miranda rights. Spegal is heard asking Ronshai Jenafor if he understands his legal rights against self-incrimination.

Jeffersontown Police are investigating Ronshai Jenafor's claims of molestation, "but there's nothing that can be substantiated at this point" Major Kenneth Hatmaker told WAVE 3 News in a telephone interview Wednesday.

Ronshai Jenafor remains jailed on $200,000 bond. He's due back in court in June.

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