York man sentenced to 7 years in fatal 'love triangle' shooting

Dilda (Photo provided by parents, JD and Ashley Dilda)
Dilda (Photo provided by parents, JD and Ashley Dilda)

YORK COUNTY, SC (WBTV) - A York County man accused of killing his wife's boyfriend was sentenced to seven years behind bars Thursday.

Richard Estes, 33, was originally charged with murder and possession of a weapon during a violent crime. However, the prosecution and defense agreed to a plea deal, after it was clear others involved were also at fault.

It's been nearly a year since investigators started digging into the so-called "love triangle" after responding to Oleen Cove Road on October 17, 2016. There, they found the body of Michael Tyson Dilda on the floor of his home. He had been shot in the chest.

There is still discrepancies over what happened before Dilda was killed. Richard Estes, who admitted to killing him in court, still claims he was acting in self-defense.

The prosecution said the culmination of this case started with months of texts and voicemails proving an on-again, off-again affair between the Richard Estes, his wife Christina Estes, and Dilda.

Christina was previously in a relationship with Dilda, in which they had a child together, before she met Estes. She then married Estes, they also have a child together.

Prosecutors say in June and July of 2016, Christina and Dilda began having an affair. Prosecutors said in court that the affair was no secret to either of the men.

"There's times when she says she'll be with Mr. Dilda, then just as quickly go back to her husband," Deputy Solicitor Willy Thompson said. "That infidelity was rubbed into her husband's face, and then into Mr. Dilda's face."

Dilda sent explicit pictures of Christina to her husband.

"No husband should obviously have to see that from the person that is having an affair with his wife," Thompson said.

Threats came from both sides. Estes filing several harassment reports with the York County Sheriff's Office. Testimony also revealed Estes had pulled a gun on Dilda before.

"I think it inflamed the anger in both these men to where they did foolish, irrational things," the prosecutor said.

Family who spoke in court said Dilda was villanized over alleged assault.

"Numerous times she would come home, bruised beaten, thrown against the wall at the hand of Tyson Dilda," said Christina's mother, Pamela Barnett-Slagle.

But blame was also placed on the woman the two men were fighting over, and she seemed to agree with that.

"I should have never done it, but it's too late now," Christina Estes said.

The prosecution said it was the guilt of all three involved that brought the court to a plea deal for Richard Estes. But as the prosecution pointed out, he was the only one to pull the trigger.

"I did not mean for any of this to happen," Richard said. "I ask the family to please just forgive me one day."

As part of the plea deal, Estes pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter, instead of murder. Voluntary manslaughter carries a sentence of minimum two years in prison, maximum 30 years in prison. The prosecution agreed to cap the sentence for Estes at 10 years.

Family members from both the defendant and the victim testified. The victim's family asked for the maximum sentence, while the defendant's family asked for the minimum.

The judge sentenced Estes to seven years in prison.

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