Triplet Accused of Stabbing Brother to Death Says He Was Only Trying to Hug Him

Kenneth Jernigan has been charged with murder.
Kenneth Jernigan has been charged with murder. Muscogee County Jail

The brother says the killing was accidental.

A Georgia triplet claims he accidentally killed his brother when he hugged him while holding a kitchen knife, authorities said.

Kenneth Jernigan, 36, has been charged with murder and possession of a knife or firearm during the commission of a capital crime, according to online records. 

He pleaded not guilty at a court hearing last week and is being held without bond on a suicide watch at the Muscogee County Jail, officials said. 

Jernigan turned his face from the courtroom and wept during his hearing. He claimed he did not intend to kill or hurt his brother, Kevin, when he hugged him while they were cooking. Police said evidence they collected at the scene does not support that account. 

The victim was stabbed once in the chest, according to the coroner.

Kenneth shares a Columbus home with brothers Kevin and Keith. They moved into their King Street home about a year ago, neighbors said. "I know that they're big boys," said Frank Goodman, who lives on the same street. "They're grown men. So you fight like grown men, right? But I would never want to imagine that it would come to this kind of result," he told WTVM-TV.