Judge delays trial after removing defense attorney

HARRODSBURG, Ky. (AP) - A central Kentucky judge has removed a defense attorney from a murder trial scheduled to begin Monday and causing the proceedings to be delayed.

Judge Darren Peckler ordered public defender Susanne McCollough relieved of her duties as a defense attorney for Paul Estes. McCullough testified during a hearing in Estes' case last week, making it improper for her to continue as defense counsel.

The Advocate-Messenger reported that McCullough told a judge that she advised Estes to confess to killing Debora Brooks in 2009 so he could avoid a possible death sentence.

A co-defendant, Meagan Brooks, pleaded guilty in November 2011 as part of a deal with prosecutors and received a 17-year sentence for the death.

The trial has already been postponed three times. It has not yet been rescheduled.

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