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KEARNS MAN ACQUITTED OF VIDEO SHOP MURDER

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A Kearns man was cleared Wednesday night of having any part in the murder of Anna Holmes, who was shot during a robbery at a Kearns video store 17 months ago.

After deliberating about five hours, an 8-member 3rd District Court jury acquitted Raymond Darl Young of aggravated robbery and second-degree murder charges.Young, 35, was accused of being the getaway car driver for Charles Kenneth McCovey, who is serving five years to life in prison for shooting Holmes during the robbery of Video Voyager, 5448 S. 4220 West, on April 22, 1988.

During closing arguments, defense attorney Joe Fratto said that, despite small inconsistencies, the testimony of Young and McCovey indicated that Young had no prior knowledge that McCovey was going to rob the video store.

According to their testimony, McCovey, who was "down on his luck" and had been staying with Young, went with Young to a market near the video store.

When they arrived, McCovey told Young he was going to a nearby service station to get some drinks and asked Young to meet him there with the car.

Young testified that McCovey was nowhere to be found so he circled the block and saw McCovey running down a street at full speed.

"I slowed the car. He opens the door and he said, `I shot a woman. It was an accident.' He was hysterical," said Young, who took the witness stand Wednesday morning in his own defense.

"I told him to get out of the car, that I didn't want anything to do with him."

McCovey had testified earlier that he had not told Young about his plans to rob the store and that Young had nothing to do with it.

Deputy Salt Lake County Attorney Ernie Jones, however, pointed out to the jury several inconsistencies in the two men's stories and attacked their credibility.

"There are too may lies and too many half truths," Jones said, noting several instances in which their testimony under oath differed from statements to police officers.

McCovey even admitted on the stand that he lied "three or four times" to the police.

"Mr. McCovey is just trying to protect his good friend, Mr. Young."

But Fratto said that McCovey "used" Young during the robbery.

"Raymond Young did not know that robbery was going to take place. He was not the getaway car driver."

Jones said Young's failure to report the crimes to anyone after McCovey told him about them adds to the evidence of guilt.

"This man does nothing. He didn't pick up the phone and call anyone because he was an active participant."

Young, however, testified that he was scared and confused.

"Scared of what?" Jones asked.

"For my family and what I might be charged with . . . Chuck was still (at large). He had a gun and had shot a woman."

Fratto told the jurors that the state's case was "woefully short" in convincing evidence.

"This is a case in which the bare facts are very few."

Holmes, 31 years old and 8 months pregnant, was at the store with her three daughters and their friends to rent a video for a slumber party.

Shot in the back of the head, Holmes died a few hours later, after doctors delivered her baby by Caesarean section. The baby suffered permanent brain damage from the ordeal and is blind, according to prior court testimony.