A man linked to a rape case this summer is facing allegations he killed a Metairie woman discovered dead in her bed late last year with a pillow over her face and a strap around her neck.

Keston Mimmitt, 35, was booked Oct. 10 on one count of second-degree murder in the strangulation death of Paige Fuentes, 54, a theater wardrobe attendant whose three children included a Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office deputy.

A 24th Judicial District Court magistrate commissioner on Thursday found probable cause for Mimmitt's arrest in Fuentes' slaying, although the man's attorney, John H. Thomas, said no physical evidence ties his client to the crime.

Mimmitt has been in jail since the Sheriff's Office arrested him July 12 on allegations he repeatedly raped another woman.

Thomas said the case against his client largely relies on a statement from one witness who claims she was told by Mimmitt that he killed Fuentes.

"He adamantly denies ever saying he had anything to do with this," Thomas said. "And our position is that the physical evidence supports him."

Fuentes' father, Leonard Levy, said Monday that Mimmitt became familiar with Fuentes when the ex-girlfriend of one of her sons, Ryan, moved in with Mimmitt.

"It's a relief they got somebody in custody," Levy said during an interview. "For a while, it was like nobody had come and killed my daughter, and now, they have somebody they are pretty sure did."

According to a preliminary Sheriff's Office report, Fuentes' son who is a deputy last spoke with his mother on the phone about 11 p.m. on Christmas and went to check on her on New Year's Eve about 2:30 p.m. because she suffered from depression and took several medications.

The son's name isn't included in the report, but Levy identified him as Ricky Fuentes.

The door to Paige Fuentes' home in the 400 block of Division Street was unlocked, and Ricky Fuentes found his mother motionless on her back in her bed.

She had a pillow over her face as well as both a leather purse strap and a scarf "wound tightly around her neck," the Sheriff's Office said. Ricky Fuentes tried to resuscitate her and called 911 for help, but she was pronounced dead at the scene.

The Sheriff's Office report didn't mention any signs of forced entry. But the document noted there were several pieces of jewelry on the floor at the entrance to Fuentes' bedroom and that the home was in a "state of mild disarray."

Jefferson Parish Coroner Gerry Cvitanovich said it was later determined she had been choked to death.

The Sheriff's Office on Feb. 9 asked the public for help in finding her killer. Crimestoppers offered a $5,000 reward for information.

Mimmitt was arrested in January on allegations of human trafficking related to prostitution. Jefferson Parish prosecutors later refused that case, but he was returned to jail after a woman told deputies he had raped her numerous times and refused to let her leave his apartment in the 2100 block of Manson Avenue in Metairie.

The false imprisonment aspect of that case has been refused, but the first-degree rape allegations remain under review by prosecutors, said Paul Purpura, spokesman for District Attorney Paul Connick's office.

Mimmitt faces mandatory life imprisonment if convicted of killing Fuentes.

According to her obituary, Fuentes made a name for herself dressing local and national actors who appeared in numerous theatrical productions. She also enjoyed caring for pets that were in need of a home, the obituary said.

Follow Ramon Antonio Vargas on Twitter, @RVargasAdvocate.

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