Mercer judge sentences convicted murderer to life in prison without parole

gkocher1@herald-leader.comMay 13, 2014 

HARRODSBURG — Despite a defense request Tuesday for a lesser penalty, a judge sentenced a man convicted of murder to life in prison without parole for 25 years.

In doing so, Mercer Circuit Judge Darren Peckler followed the recommendation of a jury that convicted Paul Estes last month of killing his ex-girlfriend's mother.

Estes, 40, was convicted in the 2009 death of Debora Brooks, 43, who was smothered with a pillow as she slept.

Defense attorney Rebecca Lytle asked the judge to use his discretion and reduce the recommended sentence.

"I firmly believe in juries and I know this court does, too," Lytle said. "And I know it would be a very odd thing for the court to do this, but I think if there were ever a case, this is the case, your honor.

"All I'd like this court to do is to consider lowering this, as the court has power to do, to a regular life sentence, your honor," Lytle said. "That would be my request."

But Peckler said he would abide by the jury's recommendation of life without parole.

A co-defendant, Megan Brooks, Debora Brooks' daughter, pleaded guilty in 2011 to an amended charge of second-degree manslaughter, hindering prosecution or arrest, and tampering with evidence.

She is serving a total of 17 years on the three charges. Megan Brooks was denied parole in 2012 and is eligible for parole again in December, according to the Kentucky Department of Corrections.

Greg Kocher: (859) 231-3305. Twitter: @HLpublicsafety.

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