NEW INFO: Woman Sentenced to Life for Stepdaughter's Death

By: WSAZ News Staff Email
By: WSAZ News Staff Email

UPDATE 10/10/12 @ 11:57 a.m.
ATHENS, Ohio (WSAZ) -- Emotions and security were high Wednesday morning as the grandmother of a 4-year-old girl, murdered by her mother, pleaded with the judge for a maximum sentence.

Ashley Young was sentenced to life with a chance of parole after 20 years for aggravated murder and 5 years for tampering with evidence. Young was sentenced after entering a guilty plea to the murder of her 4-year-old stepdaughter Kaylen Young.

Jackie West, Kaylen's grandmother, stood before a packed, sobbing courtroom to read a statement before the judge passed sentence.

"Your Honor we can only imagine the fear and horror Kaylen endured the last few moments of her life. She didn't deserve to die at the hands of someone she trusted and called mom, she was only 4-years-old, she couldn't fight back and for that we ask that you show no mercy," said West.

She was taken from us because of the stupid, selfish, cruel act. 4-year-olds aren't perfect, they talk back, they get dirty, they ruin their clothes and they break things, its all part of being a child. Nothing they could ever do, ever do is bad enough to pull out their hair and beat their head on the floor until their brains are scrambled," said West.

On Kaylen's 5th birthday we weren't buying her cake and balloons, we were going to the funeral home where we had to go and view our beautiful baby girl in her casket," West said.

After sentencing Judge Ward said this has been a very emotional sentencing and there "were certainly no winners in this courtroom today."



UPDATE 10/2/12 @ 5:50 p.m.
ATHENS, Ohio (WSAZ) -- An Athens County woman faces mandatory life in prison after pleading guilty to the murder of her four-year-old stepdaughter, Kaylen.

Athens County Prosecuting Attorney Keller Blackburn, says Ashley Young, 26, of The Plains, Ohio, withdrew her not guilty plea by reason of insanity, and entered an Alford plea during a hearing Tuesday in Athens County Common Pleas Court.

Blackburn says Young pleaded guilty to murder, aggravated murder, tamping with evidence, endangering children and attempted aggravated possession of drugs.

In an Alford Plea, the Defendant does not admit the act, but admits that the State has sufficient evidence to convince a reasonable juror of their guilt. The Court then finds the Defendant guilty.

Prosecutor Blackburn said in a release that “On May 23, 2011, Young purposefully caused the death of her four-year-old step daughter by physically assaulting her. Young later attempted to conceal evidence of the crime. After the death of her step daughter, Young attempted to buy Percocet from a local drug dealer.”

Kaylen died May 25 at a hospital in Columbus. This was just five days before her birthday.

The autopsy report indicates her death was caused by blunt force impact to her head.

In October 2011, Sheriff Pat Kelly told WSAZ.com that Young was not competent at the time to stand trial.

In May of this year, Young was found competent to stand trial, and entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity.

Young will be formally sentenced on October 10 at 10:30 a.m.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 5/29/12
ATHENS, Ohio (WSAZ) -- An Athens County woman, who was originally found not competent to stand trial, will now face a jury.

In a hearing on Tuesday in Athens, Ashley Young, 25, of The Plains, was found competent to stand trial in the death of her four-year-old step-daughter Kaylen.

Young is charged with murder, aggravated murder, child endangering, tampering with evidence and attempted aggravated possession of drugs.

Prosecutors say in May 2011, Young purposely caused Kaylen's death by physical assault. The little girl died two days later.

The autopsy report indicates Kaylen Young's death was caused by blunt force impact to her head.

The Franklin Country coroner noted several areas of the head, brain and skull suffered damage.

A trial date for Ashley Young has not been set.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 10/17/11
ATHENS, Ohio (WSAZ) -- An Athens County woman has been found not competent to stand trial in the death of her four-year-old step-daughter, Kaylen.

That according to Sheriff Pat Kelly.

Ashley Young, 25, of The Plains appeared in Athens County Common Pleas Court Monday morning for a pre-trial hearing.

Young is charged with murder, aggravated murder, child endangering, tampering with evidence and attempted aggravated possession of drugs.

Prosecutors say that on May 23, Young purposely caused the child’s death by physical assault.

She died May 25 at a hospital in Columbus.. This was just five days before her birthday.

The autopsy report indicates Kaylen Young's death was caused by blunt force impact to her head.

The Franklin Country coroner noted several areas of the head, brain and skull suffered damage.

Sheriff Kelly says Ashley Young is not competent to stand trial at this time, but she may become competent after counseling and treatment.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for updated information.



UPDATE 7/20/11 @ 3:46 p.m.
ATHENS, Ohio (WSAZ) -- Ashley Young has pleaded not guilty to additional charges related to the death of her 4-year-old stepdaughter.

Young, 25, who is in the Southeastern Ohio Regional Jail, was in court on Wednesday.

A grand jury recently returned a superseding indictment charging Young with tampering with evidence, endangering children, murder, aggravated murder and attempted aggravated possession of drugs.

Prosecutors say that on May 23 Young purposely caused the death of Kaylen Young by physical assault. The child died on May 25 at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus.

Also according to a press release, Young is accused of having concealed evidence of the shirt worn by Kaylen Young and accused of attempting to buy Percocet. Both of those allegedly happened the day of the assault.

The judge continued Young’s previously ordered $1 million bond. Her trial is set Oct. 17.



UPDATE 7/12/11@ 9 a.m.
ATHENS, Ohio (WSAZ) -- More charges have been filed against Ashley Young.

The woman from The Plains who was indicted in June for killing her step-daughter has been indicted again.

Athens County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn says the new charges filed Monday include murder in addition to the aggravated murder charge filed last month..

Blackburn say the two other new charges are attempted aggravated possession of drugs and tampering with evidence.

Young is accused of killing 4-year-old Kaylen Young in May.

Also, for the past week, detectives in Athens County have been looking for Brandi Taylor to answer some questions about this case. They tell WSAZ.com she was found Monday and testified before a grand jury.

At this point, she is not facing charges.



UPDATE 7/7/11 @ 2 p.m.
ATHENS, Ohio (WSAZ) -- Investigators are still looking for answers in the death of a four-year-old girl, and now have a person of interest they are looking for.

Kaylen Young died in May. Her step-mom, Ashley Young has been indicted on an aggravated murder charge in the little girl's death. The prosecutor's office says Ashley Young killed Kaylen Young by physical assault.

The Athens County Sheriff's Office believes that Brandi Taylor, 36, of Athens may have answers about Kaylen's death and need help in finding her.

Taylor is 5'5", 112 lbs, has brown hair and brown eyes. Detectives say she frequents The Plains, Athens, Nelsonville and Glouster areas.

Detectives consider her a person of interest that needs to be questioned in connection with Kaylen's death.

If you have any information, call Detective Steve Sedwick at 740-592-3061 ext. 209.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information on this case.



UPDATE 6/7/11 @ 4:35 p.m.
ATHENS, Ohio (WSAZ) -- A woman accused of killing her four-year-old step daughter pleaded not guilty Tuesday.

According to a press release, Ashley Young appeared before Judge Michael Ward and entered a plea of not guilty to an indictment charging her with aggravated murder and endangering children.

Athens County Prosecutor Blackburn alleges that Young purposely caused the death of Kaylen Young, her four-year-old stepdaughter by physical assault, according to the release.

The child died on May 25.

Young's bond was set at $1M. She is scheduled to be back in court for trial on August 9.

Young is currently being held at the Southeastern Ohio Regional Jail.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 6/3/11
ATHENS, Ohio (WSAZ) -- A woman has been indicted on an aggravated murder charge in the death of her stepdaughter.

Athens County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn says the Athens County grand jury indicted Ashley Young Thursday.

Young, 25, of The Plains, Ohio, is accused of killing her four-year-old stepdaughter Kaylen Young. The little girl was taken to an Athens hospital on May 22. She was unresponsive and had "suspicious" marks on her body.

The Sheriff's Department arrested Young and charged her with attempted murder at that time.

The child was later transferred to a Columbus hospital where she died on May 25 after tests showed no brain activity.

The death penalty is not part of the indictment. Blackburn says since there is no evidence of past abuse, he will not fight for the death penalty.

Young is also charged with endangering children.



UPDATE 5/25/11 @ 2 p.m.
ATHENS COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) -- A 4-year-old assault victim has died, and now investigators plan to seek an aggravated murder charge against her stepmother.

Athens County Sheriff Pat Kelly says Kaylen Young died Wednesday afternoon after being taken off life support at a Columbus hospital.

Ashley Jean Young, 25, of The Plains, was arrested Tuesday and charged with attempted murder in connection with the multiple injuries that investigators say her 4-year-old stepdaughter had received.

The Sheriff say deputies were called to an Athens hospital on Sunday concerning a 4-year-old who was unresponsive and had “suspicious marks on her body that indicated physical abuse.”

The child was later transferred to a Columbus hospital where she died after tests showed no brain activity.

Kelly expects to present the upgraded charge to a grand jury on June 2.

Young’s bond remains at $1 million.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for updated information.



ORIGINAL STORY 5/24/11 @ 10:30 p.m.
ATHENS COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) -- An Athens County woman was arrested Tuesday and charged with attempted murder in connection with multiple injuries suffered by her 4-year-old stepdaughter, according to information from Sheriff Pat Kelly.

Ashley Jean Young, 25, of 15a Beech Road, The Plains, Ohio, was taken to the Southeastern Ohio Regional Jail. Her bond was set at $1 million.

The girl suffered "multiple injuries considered life threatening," according to Kelly. She had "suspicious marks on her body indicating physical abuse."

The girl was taken by helicopter to Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus. Her condition was unavailable.


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