BUTLER (KDKA) — As a New Jersey man sits in jail waiting to go on trial in Butler County for the murder of his father and stepmother, an attorney for the wealthy couple’s estate went to court to get the father finally declared legally dead.

Colin Abbott, 41, faces two counts of homicide and abuse of a corpse after State police say he shot his father and stepmother to death last year, burned their bodies and scattered their remains on their property in Brady Township.

But nearly a year after the Abbotts’ deaths, their estate is still in limbo. No death certificate has ever been issued for 65-year-old Kenneth Abbott. His wife, 55-year-old Celeste Abbott, was declared legally dead last September.

A lawyer for the Abbott estate went to civil court Monday to ask for a hearing to declare Kenneth Abbott dead.

The hearing will likely take place in October.

The couple’s neighbors and friends were stunned last July when they heard Colin Abbott was charged with murder. He told neighbors and other relatives that his father and stepmother died in a fiery New Jersey car crash and their bodies were incinerated.

The Butler County District Attorney was in civil court but made no comment. Previously, the DA said he was awaiting DNA test results to confirm Kenneth Abbott’s remains had been positively identified.

A gag order was issued in this case meaning the district attorney, state police and defense attorneys could not comment on the case outside of court.

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