Man charged in Steele Creek slaying has violent past

by: Paige Hansen Updated:


CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Eyewitness News learned that the man who is charged with killing his girlfriend has attacked a woman before. 
Jimmy Estes is accused of killing Frances Gutnick at her Steele Creek home Sunday night.
Jill Hunter was 12 years old when her mom dated Estes.
In November 1999, Hunter said Estes tried to kill her mother, Robin Williams.
"He found the biggest knife in the drawer and he stabbed her three times," Hunter said. 
Hunter has photos of the scars her mom suffered.
"I just remember seeing my mom on the stretcher being pulled out of our house," she said.
Lancaster County Courthouse officials said Estes was charged with assault and battery with intent to kill.
But in 2006, Estes was convicted of a lesser charge -- assault and battery of a high-and-aggravated nature.
A judge sentenced him to 10 years in prison but Hunter said he only served five years and has been free since 2011.
"I want to understand how they let that happen because now somebody has lost their life. Where do you draw the line?" Hunter said.
Hunter said she had to come forward when she learned what happened to Frances Gutnick, 52, who was found at her home Sunday and died from assault wounds. She and Estes had been dating.
"I just couldn't sit back," Hunter said. "Knowing what I went through and what her daughter is going through. I can't sit back and not say anything."
Hunter said Estes convinced her mom she fell onto a knife.
The couple married months later and out of fear she said Williams is still legally married to Estes.
"I just feel like if we were to contact him and 'Oh, she wants a divorce,' that gets him thinking about her again and that terrifies me," Hunter said.
Channel 9 contacted the Department of Corrections but did not get a response on why Estes might have served a shorter sentence.
As of Tuesday night, Estes was still in the hospital recovering after he got into a car crash Monday.
Police said once he is released from the hospital he will be taken to jail and charged with Gutnick's killing.
Channel 9's news partners at the Rock Hill Herald reported that on Thursday, Estes was arrested and charged with public disorderly conduct and failure to surrender his driver's license.
He also has a lengthy criminal background, including robbery with a dangerous weapon and DUI.