The Commercial Appeal

Convicted murderer won’t get a new trial

Proof of guilt ‘overwhelmi­ng’

- By Lawrence Buser

Selected crimes reported June 16-22. Burglaries involve breaking and entering a building, and robberies involve force against a person. More crime activity available at crime. commercial­appeal.com. 38103: 300 block Beale, cash 38104: 1700 block North Parkway, laptop computer, cash, camera 38106: 1900 block Carver, copper pipe 38108: 1500 block Pope, furnace, air conditione­r 38109: 200 block Hillview, laptop computer, camera 38111: 2800 block Kimball, TV, shotgun, sword 38112: 3400 block Rockwood, weed trimmer, blower, chainsaw 38114: 1600 block Lamar, tools, TV, shop vac, circular saw 38115: 5700 block Fox Meadows, laptop computer, TV, stereo system, computer system, video game system, lawnmowers, jewelry, TV stand, electronic­s 38116: 2900 block Convair, scrap metal 38117: 4900 block Verosa, pressure washer 38118: 3700 block Firethorne, water heater, air conditione­r 38122: 3600 block Rhea, guitars, TVs, guitar stands 38127: 1600 block Haywood, lawnmower, TV, ladder, skateboard, rug 38128: 3800 block Daffodil, sinks, copper pipe, water heater, bathroom vanities,

MEMPHIS miscellane­ous 38141: 4600 block Lynngate, refrigerat­or, stove 38104: 100 block E. Virginia, license plate 38105: 900 block North Parkway, jewelry 38107: 600 block Thomas, radar detector 38108: 2000 block Chelsea, beer 38109: 100 block Vaal, water heater, copper pipe, air conditione­r, copper wire, dryer 38111: 200 block Buntyn, lorazepam, sunglasses 38114: 2300 block Dwight Road, license plate 38115: 6000 block Elk Grove, cologne 38117: 4800 block Poplar, laptop computer, cutlery, charger 38119: 7400 block Wood Rail Cove, hydrocodon­e 38120: 1000 block S. Shady Grove, generator, air compressor 38122: 2500 block Jackson, radio, cellphone 38127: 4000 block Conrad Cove, firearm 38128: 3100 block James Road, groceries 38141: 5300 block Mineral Wells Road, tires, rims 38104: 700 block S. Willett, 2006 Vespa 38107: 1000 block N. Willett, 2012 Toyota 38109: 400 block Clower, 1987 Oldsmobile 38111: 3900 block Dunn, 1999 Chevrolet 38112: 100 block St. Agnes, 1996 Jeep 38114: 2800 block Owl Hollow, 2009 Toyota 38115: 6900 block Stone Ridge, 2004 Cadillac 38116: 900 block Whitaker, 2007 Dodge 38118: 3500 block Old Getwell Road, 1999 GMC 38119: 5200 block Park, 1997 Chevrolet 38120: 6000 block Walnut Grove Road, 2004 Dodge 38122: 4300 block Shelbourne, 1993 Honda 38128: 2600 block Amy Lane, 1994 Chevrolet 38141: 6700 block Blue Lake Lane, 2001 Pontiac 38104: 800 block Porter, cellphone 38111: 3200 block Standard, revolver 38114: 2500 block W. Hillview, cash, cellphone 38115: 4100 block Winchester, cash, debit card 38116: 2700 block Airways Blvd., prescripti­on drugs 38118: 4100 block Winchester, cellphones, diesel fuel, tires 38119: 6500 block Mt. Moriah Road, cash 38122: 3900 block Summer, bicycle 38127: St. Elmo and Watkins, lottery ticket, cash 38128: 4100 block Alps, cash, cellphone Memphis Crime Stoppers: 528-2274

BARTLETT/CORDOVA 38016: 2700 block Countrywoo­d Parkway, golf cart 38134: 2800 block Germantown Parkway, cigarettes 38135: 5500 block Lacey Cove, handgun, tablet computer, cash, rifle, safe, magazines 38016: 1300 block Equestrian, blowers 38018: 1100 block Havenwood, jewelry 38133: 2700 block Laura Circle E., trailer, weed trimmer, riding mower, bicycle 38002: 3800 block Lighthouse Lane, 2008 Toyota 38016: 2300 block Fallingwat­er Lane, 2006 Chevrolet 38134: 2000 block Wall, 1999 Mitsubishi 38016: 8100 block Varnavas, cash Bartlett Crime Stoppers: 3855550; Memphis Crime Stoppers: 528-2274

MILLINGTON/TIPTON 6500 block U.S. 51 S., mattress 8100 block U.S. 51, laptop computer 5800 block Lake Port, laptop computer 400 block Simonton, 1997 Oldsmobile Millington Crime Stoppers: 872-2274; Millington Drug Tip Hotline: 872-4169

A Mississipp­i man convicted in the 1999 abduction and murder of a University of Memphis graduate student was properly represente­d and is not entitled to a new trial, an appeals court ruled Friday.

Leonard Jasper “Sonny” Young’s death sentence was overturned two years ago after a trial- court judge ruled defense attorneys did not properly defend him at that stage, but that judge — and now the appellate court — said those same attorneys adequately defended him in the guilt phase of his 2002 trial.

Young, 68, confessed to abducting and stabbing to death Hillary Johnson and then showed investigat­ors where he disposed of her body.

The Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals noted that one expert called the proof of guilt “overwhelmi­ng” and said the facts of the case were “horrific.”

“Lead (defense) counsel met with (Young), interviewe­d witnesses, filed pretrial motions, crossexami­ned the state’s witnesses, and presented argument to the jury,” Judge Norma McGee Ogle wrote for the three-judge appeals panel. “The (trial) court found that (Young) ‘had little in the way of viable defenses’ and that based upon the strength of the state’s proof, ‘there was little to contest the state’s guilt phase case.’”

Young abducted Johnson in her car on Nov. 20, 1999, outside her apartment on McLean near Peabody in Midtown. He was arrested nine days later and eventually led authoritie­s to her body, which he left in a rural area near Eads by the Shelby-Fayette County line.

Johnson, 24, a native of Chicago who was working on a master’s in philosophy, died of a stab wound to the back.

Young was convicted of first-degree murder, especially aggravated kidnapping and theft of property over $1,000. He was sentenced to death plus 72 years.

In a 2011 ruling, Criminal Court Judge Paula Skahan upheld Young’s conviction­s but awarded him a new sentencing trial, saying defense lawyers should have informed jurors of Young’s abusive upbringing in a broken home, reform school and prison.

A new sentencing trial to determine life or death is pending.

Young had 13 prior felony conviction­s dating to 1974, including manslaught­er for the shooting death of his former brother-in-law.

 ??  ?? Leonard Young
Leonard Young

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