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Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014

Man gets life for Bootheel slaying

Friday, September 7, 2001

BENTON - In a brief court appearance Wednesday, a Springfield man pleaded guilty to killing a paraplegic and will spend the rest of his life in prison.

Michael Todd Estes, 33, pleaded guilty as charged to the Class A felony of first-degree murder before Presiding Circuit Judge David Dolan, according to Butler County Prosecuting Attorney Kevin Barbour.

Estes waived having a pre-sentence investigation by the Office of Probation and Parole and Dolan sentenced him to life in prison without the possibility of probation or parole.

Estes, who has been housed in Scott County since being granted a change of venue, will be transported to the Missouri Department of Corrections to begin serving his sentence in "the very near future," Barbour said.

Estes' plea stems from the Nov. 12 shooting death of Charles "Gene" Kinney, 55, of Poplar Bluff.

Kinney's body was found by firefighters in the charred remains of his home on County Road 329.

An autopsy determined Kinney had been shot in the head and that he was dead before the fire started.

Estes' alleged accomplice, Milton Roy Taylor, 33, of Poplar Bluff has been bound over to stand trial for his alleged role in the crime.

Taylor is charged with first-degree murder and in the alternative felony murder.

No trial date has been set at this time.