CHESAPEAKE, Va. — The parents of a murdered Mormon missionary from Bountiful say the sentence handed down Monday to their son's killer is appropriate.
"We are pleased with it," Mark Young told the Deseret News by phone from Chesapeake, Va., where he and his wife had traveled for the court hearing. "Thirty-eight and a half years is a long time."
James Boughton Jr., 23, was ordered by a Virginia judge to serve 38 years and six months in prison after being convicted of first-degree murder for the death of Morgan W. Young, of Bountiful.
Morgan Young and his missionary companion, Joshua Heidbrink, of Greeley, Colo., had been knocking doors while proselytizing in Chesapeake in January 2006 when they saw Boughton shoot a man. Then, he shot the missionaries, wounding Heidbrink and killing Young.
Boughton was also convicted of malicious wounding, attempted malicious wounding and three firearms violations.
Mark and Kathy Young declined to make a statement during the sentencing. They made a statement in 2008, leading up to Boughton's conviction, about how their family has been affected by Morgan Young's murder.
The family has been through counseling and is working to achieve a "new normal," Kathy Young said Monday.
Morgan Young was the couple's first child.
"I learned my parenting based on (him)," she said. And since his death, "parenting, for me, has been difficult."
Morgan Young was two months short of completing his two-year service for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when he was killed. The Bountiful High School graduate and Eagle Scout studied briefly at Weber State University before leaving for a mission in March 2004. He planned to study computer science at BYU upon his return.
President Gordon B. Hinckley, who was president of the LDS Church at the time, spoke at Morgan Young's Jan. 10, 2006, funeral in Bountiful.
"I'm impressed with the thought that Elder Young has joined the ranks of a very select group who stand so very, very high in the estimate of God," he said. "There is some special place and some special work for them to do under our Father's plan."
Mark and Kathy Young said in 2006 they were proud of their son for doing what he believed to be right. But they don't expect to have the closure everyone asks them about.
"Morgan's still not here," Kathy Young said.
"There's always a sense of loss," Mark Young added.
For now, the Youngs feel like they have a future free of the various delays in the justice system, including the many hearings that were repeatedly rescheduled by the defense. And they hope it's the end of only being able to plan their lives three months ahead.
"We've been doing this for four years," Kathy Young said.
Monday's visit to Virginia was the third court visit for the Youngs during those four years. And it may not be the last.
They're expecting Boughton to appeal his prison sentence.
Contributing: Associated Press