WHITLEY COUNTY - A Corbin man, who was scheduled to be formally sentenced in Whitley County Circuit Court Wednesday after agreeing to a plea deal in September, will instead have his case heard by a jury.
Last month, Paul Brock, age 41, was scheduled to have his case heard by a Whitley County jury. However, as prosecutors and defense attorneys worked their way through the jury selection process, Brock accepted a plea deal at the 11th hour from the Commonwealth that would have seen him serve 70 years.
Shortly thereafter, the office of Commonwealth’s Attorney Ronnie Bowling confirmed the plea agreement, releasing a statement stating Brock had agreed to plead guilty to three counts of murder, one count of fetal homicide, one count of tampering with physical evidence and one count of being a persistent felony offender in the first degree.
As it stood on that day, Brock was pleading guilty to his role in the 2018 murder of Mary Jackson, 74, and her pregnant granddaughter, Tiffany Myers, 33, who were found shot to death at an Ellison Street residence in Corbin.
Brock was developed as the main person of interest in the killings by the Corbin Police Department, being brought in for questioning the morning of Feb. 18, 2018, before being arrested later that day and charged with three counts of murder.
The body of Myers’ husband, Aaron Byers, 45, was found the following day in a shallow grave in a wooded area off Corinth Cemetery Road. At that time, Brock was then charged with another count of murder and tampering with physical evidence. Brock was indicted in 2018.
On Wednesday a small group of the victims’ families, friends and loved ones sat in the gallery of a Whitley County courtroom, waiting for a chance to testify before the court prior to Brock receiving his formal sentencing. Instead, the group sat in the courtroom for more than two-and-half hours waiting for the morning’s proceeding to begin.
Once the proceeding did begin, it was learned through one of Brock’s attorneys, Andrea Kendall, there had been a procedural issue with the plea agreement. According to Kendall, while preparing for the Wednesday’s sentencing hearing, it was discovered her client was not eligible for the charge of first-degree persistent felony offender and that was why they were not moving forward with the sentencing proceeding.
Bowling responded that he had offered a resolution to the issue two weeks ago, and that it would have seen Brock serve the same amount of time as his original plea deal, and that it would have had no additional ramifications or consequences for Brock’s parole eligibility.
“I would like to verify on the record, if we’re going to trial, here’s the Commonwealth’s plea offer,” Bowling said, standing and addressing the court before ripping the document in half. “We’re not extending anything else.”
Brock’s new trial was scheduled for March 1.
Bowling said that it had been brought to his attention that the defense council also plans to file a motion that would see the venue of the jury trial changed from Whitley County. Kendall cited the extensive pre-trial coverage by local media as a reason why, believing because Brock’s prior plea deal had been publicized not only in the newspaper but also on social media, he would not be able to have a fair trial in Whitley County.
Bowling asked that the defense’s motion be submitted before the Whitley County jury orientation for the first quarter of 2022 scheduled for Dec. 21. The court agreed with Bowling’s motion and scheduled a hearing for the venue change motion on Dec. 6.