A 12-member jury deliberated for more than four hours Thursday before announcing David Franklin Young guilty of first-degree murder and theft in the beating death of a Salt Lake County woman.
Judge Timothy R. Hanson said he will review the evidence and instruct the jury on his findings before the penalty phase Tuesday. Jurors then will decide if Young will be sentenced to die or if he will serve life in prison.The nude body of Kimberly Ember Mars, 27, was found in the bedroom of her home Aug. 19, 1987. She had been raped, stabbed repeatedly, beaten with an iron and smothered. Young, 28, was arrested by Illinois police a week later. He was in Mars' pickup truck and had her credit card and purse in his possession.
Young shook his head when the verdict was read, but he showed little emotion to the decision.
The jury also determined Thursday that there were aggravating circumstances of rape and pecuniary gain associated with the murder. Young waived his right to have a jury determine whether he is also guilty of capital homicide based on the special circumstances of a prior felony involving violence toward another person.
"The evidence was there," said prosecutor Glenn K. Iwasaki after the trial. Defense attorneys chose not to comment.
During closing arguments Thursday, Iwasaki said Young's own confession to Salt Lake County sheriff's Detective Dick Judd should convince jurors he raped and killed Mars.
"He knew what he did. He knew when he did it, how he did it and why he did it. And he tells us in his own chilling words," he said, rebutting contentions by the defense that Young had diminished mental capacity.
During Wednesday's testimony, neuropsychologist William Lancaster said Young suffers from an "organic brain disorder" stemming from a history of repeated head injuries.
"In my clinical opinion, Mr. Young is prone to rage-type reactions and loss of control," Lancaster said, adding that Young also has a "severe memory deficit" and said his statements should be taken with a grain of salt.
Iwasaki, however, rebutted Lancaster's testimony and said the mental evaluation does not play a role in the defense. "It is not contained in your jury instruction that organic brain syndrome is a defense in this case.
"It's not a defense to theft, it's not a defense to murder in the first degree," he said.
"When you have a problem deciding whether something is true or not, look at the physical evidence" that indicates the death was a "brutal, savage homicide" that occurred over a long period of time in various rooms of Mars' house, he said.
"It was not the product of one explosive rage," said Iwasaki, who added that "there was some enjoyment" during the murder.
But defense attorney Karen Stam said the evidence indicates that Young was not in control. "This was not a plan. It was an explosion."
Stam described Young as an "obsessive, overgrown child" and asked the jury to deliberate with fairness and compassion.
She said his brain was damaged and he was unable to exercise good judgment, particularly when Mars rejected his sexual advances.
"His inability to prevent her rejections undoubtedly (sparked) his rage," she said.
"There is a possibility of understanding here beyond the horror," Stam said, adding that Young was unable to listen to the court proceedings around him.