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Young gets 30 years

Donna Gray

Harley Quint Young will begin a 30-year prison sentence Thursday afternoon for the fatal beating of his 41/2-month-old daughter. Ninth District Court Judge Peter Craven handed down the sentence Friday, the result of a plea agreement crafted after Young pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of felony child abuse.In pronouncing sentence Craven quoted Abraham Lincoln, “A society is judged not by how it treats its greatest but how it treats its least. … It’s difficult to conceive how that protection was ripped away and replaced with violence against a child.”In harrowing detail, Gretchen Larson, deputy district attorney, described the night Alecsandria Young-Schmid died. On Feb. 17, 2002, Young came home from his job at Peppo Nino restaurant in Glenwood Springs.”He’d had a bad day. He was in a bad mood,” Larson said. His wife Micah was sleeping and his daughter was in a baby swing, crying.”He jerked her violently out of her swing and slammed her two times against the ground. She cried some more, and he took his hand and covered her mouth and nose and suffocated her for 20 to 30 seconds. Then, realizing what he was doing, he jerked his hand away. … He wrapped her in a blanket and put her in her crib and left her there to die.”When he came in the bedroom, according to his confession, his wife woke up and asked what noise the baby had made. Young said it gurgled or snored. In reality, the baby was struggling for breath.”He just left her there to die,” Larson said.The next morning, he found the baby dead in her crib. Mesa County Coroner Dr. Robert Kurtzman performed an autopsy on Alecsandria on Feb. 18 and found evidence of violent head trauma, sometimes characterized as “shaken baby syndrome,” Larson said.Young, 22, and wife Micah Marie Schmid-Young, 21, lived in Garfield County between Glenwood Springs and Carbondale near the CMC turnoff when the killing took place.After a two-year investigation by then-District Attorney Mac Myers and Larson, the couple were arrested in Tucumcari, N.M., on Mar. 29, 2004, and extradited back to Garfield County in April.Schmid-Young is charged with child abuse resulting in serious bodily injury, negligently.As part of the plea bargain, Young pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of child abuse resulting in serious bodily injury, knowingly or recklessly, which carries a presumptive sentence of 24 to 33 years.Young gave a video-taped confession to a sheriff’s detective, part of which was shown in court Friday. In the segment, Young demonstrated with a doll how he beat his daughter against the floor.”I just kind of lost it,” he said.Larson also told the court that Young was not pleased with his plea agreement.”He said it ‘sucked,'” Larson said. His comment was, “There’s no justice in this. They’re just hurting the kids. We’re one of the better American families. We don’t beat our kids and we don’t do drugs in front of them.””He thinks he’s the victim of injustice,” Craven said. “He does not understand the gravity of his own (actions).”Young’s father and grandmother and a family friend pleaded with Craven for leniency. Young’s attorney, public defender Jim Conway, also asked Craven to “temper justice with mercy,” and give him less than the maximum of 33 years. “I have never had a client that felt so bad for what he did,” Conway said. “He killed someone he loved. He’ll have to live with this for the rest of his life.”Young, in leg shackles and black and white striped jail garb, shuffled to the podium and addressed Craven.”Your Honor, there is nothing I can say except the remorse and sorrow I feel over the events that transpired, or the tribulation I feel every moment of every day … I realize you have to serve justice but I’ve already lost the greatest joy anyone could have.”Craven then handed down his sentence, noting that without the plea agreement, Young would have faced life in prison.”The defendant comes before the court with a substantial record of (prior) convictions” primarily drug charges, including most recently, methamphetamine, dating back to age 14.As Craven pronounced the sentence, Young, who had remained impassive through the proceedings, looked back at his family. Someone said, “I love you Harley,” from the back of the room.Then he was shackled around the waist and led away.Contact Donna Gray: 945-8515, ext. 510dgray@postindependent.com


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