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BARDSTOWN – A double-murder case in the death of a Shelby County man that was scheduled to begin its third trial this morning ended before it began.
John T. Hilbert and his attorney accepted a plea deal in front of Nelson Circuit Judge John David Seay on Monday, the day his trial was set to begin.
He pleaded guilty to shooting and killing Danny Elmore of Waddy and his cousin, John Stump Jr. of Nelson County, in 1999. Hilbert was sentenced to 30 years in prison for two counts of murder. The sentencings will be served concurrently for a total of 30 years in prison.
Hilbert will be eligible for parole after serving 20 years of his sentence.
In court, Elmore’s mother, Joyce Patterson, said the loss of her son and Stump has affected her family tremendously during the past decade.
“I just hope you realize what he has done to two families,” she said to Seay, adding that Hilbert has shown no remorse for what he did.
In March, Seay declared a mistrial in Hilbert’s case because of improper discussion by jurors.
The Kentucky Standardreported that jurors admitted a discussion had taken place about the facts in the case and the credibility of witnesses who had testified. Video transcripts indicated that several jurors told the judge there had been several comments by at least one juror, who was critical of the prosecution for objecting to a witness answering a line of questioning.
In 2001, Hilbert was convicted of the killings and sentenced to life without parole for 25 years. Four years later, the Kentucky Supreme Court ruled that the jury in Hilbert’s original trial was not instructed properly, and the case had to be retried.
According to court records, Hilbert was accused of shooting and killing Elmore and Stump on Dec. 17, 1999, in a mobile home on Old Bloomfield Road.
Hilbert, Elmore, Stump and two women, Karen Miller and her sister, Tammy Patterson, had gone to the residence after meeting up at a bar in Fern Creek. Hilbert is accused of shooting the two men after being asked to leave the mobile home.