The same jury that convicted David Franklin Young of first-degree murder decided Wednesday that he should die for stabbing and beating Ember Kimberly Mars on Aug. 19, 1987.
Young cried and kicked his chair backward when the ury announced it had sentenced him to die. Young's attorneys also cried at the jury's decision, which was reached after nearly eight hours of deliberation."I think I've been treated unfairly," Young told 3rd District Judge Timothy Hanson after the jurors, some of whom were crying, had been thanked and excused.
"I'm sorry you feel that way," Hanson said. "I don't think you've been treated unfairly."
"I do," Young replied.
Under Utah law, Young has the option of choosing to die by lethal injection or by firing squad. Sentencing was set for July 11.
During closing arguments in the penalty phase of Young's trial, prosecutor Dick Shepherd told the jury that execution is the only appropriate punishment for the three-time killer whose last victim was Mars, 27, a part-time nurse brutally murdered in her home at 6262 S. Dewdrops Drive, in the Oquirrh Shadows subdivision southwest of Kearns.
Young, 28, of Bridgeport, Ill., refused to attend the closing arguments Wednesday.
That refusal, legal defender Nancy Bergeson told the jury, typifies Young's mental and emotional problems - brain damage, borderline personality disorder, a low IQ and other mental problems.
"But for these things, he would not have committed these homicides," said Bergeson, referring to psychiatric findings that Young is unable to control his fits of anger and rage. "We kill murderers for acts that are commensurate with their ability to control their behavior."
Bergeson acknowledged the savagery of Young's actions but pleaded with the jury to spare his life because of his mental and emotional age.
"If you kill him, you might as well kill him at (age) 3 or 5 or 7," she said, holding up a photograph of Young as a boy. "If you kill him, you kill a child."
The defense attorney asked the jury to take a close look at Young's physical problems and his adverse childhood.
"You see a small child, brain-damaged from the first days of his existence. . . . He sees a father and a mother in a relationship of hate. . . . He watches a father who explodes violently . . . who abuses his wife and children and whose arrival home means fear and darkness for the family."
Because of his brain injury, Young was left without the skills to overcome his adversities.
Young was teased as a child and had few friends because he was slow, she said.
His response was to lash out in explosive rages, Bergeson said.
"This is a boy pathetically and dangerously out of control."
When Young left home, he had a disastrous first marriage, which ended in divorce.
He later became engaged to another woman but killed her in 1983 in Illinois. After serving 3 1/2 years, he married again.
He has also been convicted of killing his wife in Indiana on July 30, 1987, just three weeks before he killed Mars. He then fled to the West.
Those prior homicides, said prosecutors, are one of the reasons that Young should die for killing Mars, whom Young met at a truck stop in Salt Lake County.
The murders Young committed represent a pattern of escalation in his propensity for violence, Shepherd said.
"The pattern of sadistic pleasure in the subjugation, dehumanization and murder of female victims is deeply entrenched and not subject to psychiatric treatment or spontaneous change," Shepherd said, quoting from a psychiatric report.
Shepherd urged the jury to discount Young's mental status and remember the heinous nature of the crime against Mars, who was terrorized for hours before she was sexually assaulted, beaten and stabbed repeatedly.