HARRODSBURG — Another hearing in the Paul Estes murder case, which is more than three years old, passed Tuesday without a trial date being set.
Estes, 39, is accused in the 2009 suffocation death of Debora Brooks of Mercer County. He was initially set to go to trial in April, but the case was postponed then because a defense witness was hospitalized and could not testify.
On Tuesday, Elizabeth Kidd, one of Estes’ attorneys, filed an ex parte motion for Mercer Circuit Judge Darren Peckler to consider without input from prosecutors. Peckler set the next hearing in the case for Jan. 15 to allow time to rule on the motion, which Kidd declined to discuss.
Police have said Estes admitted he smothered Debora Brooks with a pillow and tied a plastic bag over her head to finally suffocate her, allegedly after being manipulated by Meghan Brooks — his former girlfriend and Debora Brooks’ daughter — to carry out the killing in hopes of collecting insurance money.
Meghan Brooks pleaded guilty last year to second-degree manslaughter in her mother’s death in exchange for a 17-year prison sentence.
Estes turned down an offer from Commonwealth’s Attorney Richie Bottoms to plead guilty to murder in exchange for a recommended life sentence without a parole hearing for 25 years, deciding instead to go to trial and hope a jury would recommend a sentence similar to the one Meghan Brooks’ received.
Bottoms said Tuesday the offer still stands, and Kidd said the defense is still negotiating for a possible deal before the case is set for trial, which could come at the Jan. 15 hearing.