PHOENIX >> A Russian national who is accused of killing his ex-girlfriend from North Adams in Arizona last year is reportedly seeking a plea deal.
Igor Zubko, 26, wants to offer a guilty plea to incur a life sentence on the first-degree murder charge and avoid the death penalty in the slaying of Shayley Estes, according to an Associated Press report.
Zubko said he wanted to spare Este's family a painful jury trial, the report said. He is representing himself against the murder charge in Maricopa County Superior Court.
Estes, 22, was found shot to death last July in her apartment. A handgun and shell casings were found in the residence, according to Phoenix media.
Zubko was arrested soon after at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport after purchasing a one-way plane ticket to San Francisco.
Estes was a 2011 graduate of Drury High School and was enrolled as a student at Arizona State university.
Estes' relationship with Zubko ended in June 2015 and she had reportedly taken out a protective order against him.
Police told the Arizona Republic newspaper Zubko returned to Estes' house, broke in and waited for her to return. When she came home, they argued. Estes attempted to flee the house and was shot multiple times. Estes' body was found sometime later when a roommate came home.
In a 2015 interview, Shannon Estes, Shayley's mother, thanked Phoenix Police for arresting Zubko before he could flee.
"I'm just so thankful that they got him at the airport. He didn't make it back to Russia, where he probably would have never been found and never held accountable for this. That is the only thing I am thankful for, that they got him," she said.
Contact Bob Dunn at 413-496-6249.