Man pleads guilty in death of Lexington attorney killed during cycling event
GEORGETOWN, Ky. - The murder trial for a man accused of killing a Lexington attorney in a hit-and-run crash was scheduled to begin on Monday, but the case took an unexpected turn. Instead of jury selection starting, Odilon Paz-Salvador changed his plea. Paz-Salvador pleaded guilty in Scott Circuit Court in front of Judge Paul Isaacs. The defendant faced charges of murder, wanton endangerment, leaving the scene of an accident, fleeing or evading police, and no operator's license.
The Commonwealth recommended he spend 35-years for the murder charge, and one year for the remaining charges to be served concurrently.
Police say Paz-Salvador was drunk when he ran over and killed Lexington attorney Mark Hinkel who was participating in a cycling event in 2015 in Scott County. According to police, the driver crossed over the line on Lemons Mill Road, overcorrected, then hit Hinkel head-on before fleeing the scene. Police arrested Odilon Paz-Salvador about three miles away at a trailer park on Lisle Road.
Just last week, the judge held hearings discussing evidence in the case. The defense wanted evidence obtained in the case thrown out. The judge denied that request.
The Hinkel family was inside the courtroom on Monday for the hearing.
Paz-Salvador would not be eligible for parole for 20 years. Judge Isaacs scheduled a formal sentencing for October.