Feb. 12, 2021
Murder suspect Reuben Sebastian Paz has been in jail for three years awaiting trial after being accused of killing his wife while four of their five children were in their Adair County home.
A trial scheduled for this week has been postponed after a January Supreme Court administrative order that postpones all jury trials until at least April 1.
Christopher Cohron, the commonwealth’s attorney in Warren County who was appointed special prosecutor in December 2018, said he is ready to proceed with the trial once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.
Paz, 34, was charged with murder and tampering with physical evidence after calling 911 at 3:53 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 13, 2017 and saying his wife, Linda Sebastian Paz, was dead.
Law enforcement arrived at their home at 2850 New Concord Rd. and found Linda Paz, 25, dead on the floor in the master bedroom. They also saw a .22 caliber long rifle bullet in the bathroom toilet.
Four of the couple’s five children were inside the home when the shooting occurred. Records obtained by the Community Voice indicate that Paz waited two hours before calling for help and then tried to convince police that his wife had committed suicide. Before the day was over, however, he waived his right to remain silent and confessed to murder.
Court records report that Paz first stated he heard a gunshot around two hours prior to calling 911. He said he did not make the call earlier because he is not a legal U.S. citizen and was afraid he would be deported.
The Adair County Sheriff’s Department obtained a search warrant of the residence and a vehicle outside of the residence. The driver’s side door was open when officers arrived on the scene and a cell phone was lying on the ground near the vehicle.
Paz was arrested on a murder charge the day of the shooting and held on a $1 million cash bond. On Dec. 12, 2017, he was indicted for murder and tampering with physical evidence.
A preliminary autopsy report indicated that Linda Paz died from a single gunshot wound in the back. No autopsy reports were available in court documents and at least two documents have been sealed, removing them from public record.
Since Paz was indicted, the case has moved slowly, with a new prosecuting attorney and defense attorney taking over the case since it was originally filed.
Commonwealth’s Attorney Brian Wright recused from the case after a request from the defense in November 2018. Wright’s office had hired an attorney who previously was employed by the Department of Public Advocacy in the Columbia trial office, from where
Paz is being represented.
Paz’s attorney, C. B. Bates, argued that rules applying to attorney relationships with former clients also applied to the commonwealth attorney’s office. Wright said the new assistant commonwealth’s attorney had some involvement in the Paz case during her employment at the Department of Public Advocacy and Wright agreed to have a special prosecutor represent the commonwealth and prosecute the case.
A pre-trial conference is now set for March 31.