(The Daily World) – A Eunice man who pleaded guilty in 1992 to three counts of first degree murder for killing his parents and younger brother and then burning their house, was re-sentenced by a state district judge on Tuesday to three counts of manslaughter for all three deaths.
The new sentence issued by District Court Judge James Doherty will allow Chad Young, now 45, to walk out of prison in November 2020, according to Young’s defense attorney, Edward Lopez.
Doherty said his new sentence is based on a plea bargain agreement reached between Young’s attorneys and the St. Landry Parish District Attorney’s Office.
Glenn Marcantel, who represented the DA’s Office during the hearing, said he had no objections to the defense’s request to reduce Young’s sentence.
“It’s a done deal. (Young’s family) can fight it all they want. The Fat Lady has sung,” Lopez said during an interview following the hearing.
Court records show that Young, then 20, pleaded guilty to fatally shooting his father, Lukas Young, 42, at least twice with a .22 caliber pistol and stabbing to death his mother, Rebecca Young, 38, and 15-year-old brother Chris Young at their home on Rozas Road outside Eunice.
At the time of the incident, Young was 17.
Autopsy reports available at the time of Young’s indictment in December 1988 indicate that Rebecca Young was alive at the time the house was set on fire. The autopsy ruled that she died of carbon monoxide inhalation.
Prior to sentencing Young to the three counts of manslaughter, Doherty allowed family members to present victim impact statements.
Katie Suire, who said she is Chad Young’s first cousin, said Young’s killing of her aunt, uncle and cousin was planned for several days before the crimes were committed.
Suire said that Young’s actions were incomprehensible.
“He shot his daddy in the face while his daddy was on the phone (with a Eunice police dispatcher). Then (Chad Young) set the house on fire. His little brother had wounds on his arms, trying to defend himself,” Suire read from her written statement.
Suire said Young locked the doors of the house to make sure none of the victims escaped.
“Shame on the DA’s Office for not notifying most of the family that this (re-sentencing) was taking place,” Suire said.
Stephanie Cortez, Lukas Young’s sister, said she is now blind and would be afraid if Young was to be let out of prison.
“Someone like that does not need to walk around except in prison. If he’s out of prison, I will have to lock my doors. He needs to stay where he’s at,” said Cortez.
Prudence Mott, also Lukas Young’s sister, said she was in favor of letting Young out of prison.
“He’s been in there (prison) a long time already. He needs to be able to start a family,” she said.
Lopez explained to the court that U.S. Supreme Court decisions issued since Young was incarcerated for the three deaths, have made it illegal to give a person under 18 a life sentence without parole.
Those decisions indicate that the original sentencing of Young on the three counts of first degree murder is retroactive, meaning Young would have to serve at least 35 years of a life sentence, said Lopez.
In January, Lopez said, Doherty ruled that Young’s original sentence was illegal, based on the new Supreme Court guidelines.
“The motion that was filed in January to withdraw the original guilty plea was approved (by Doherty) and that’s why we were here (on Tuesday). Since January, (Young) is someone who was convicted of first degree murder but serving time without a sentence. Now that has been cleared up,” Lopez said.
According to the sentencing guidelines, Lopez said that Young will receive 32 years for manslaughter in connection with all three murders. With credit for time served since his initial incarceration in 1988, Lopez said Young should be released from prison by Nov. 29, 2020.
Lopez said Young has served time in both Angola and at Wade Correctional in Homer.
Lopez told Doherty that Young has had no write ups for violent actions and has essentially been a model prisoner. Young, Lopez said, has also received his high school diploma while in prison.
Young, who attended the sentencing in his blue prison uniform, sat at the defense table while shackled in leg irons and handcuffs. He was sworn in by Doherty during the hearing and acknowledged that he agreed to the withdrawal of his original guilty plea on three counts of first degree murder and approved his new sentence of three three counts of manslaughter.
During most of the court proceeding, Young spent time with his head down or staring ahead. When he first entered the courtroom, accompanied by sheriff’s deputies, he looked briefly over to members of his parents’ family, who were seated behind the court’s glass enclosure.
Young did not offer any statements to the family.
Doherty, before granting the new sentence, said Young’s crimes were “heinous.” Doherty said he empathized with the members of the victims’ family.
The victims’ family members gathered outside the courtroom annex following the new sentence and expressed dismay at Young’s reduction of prison time.
“To have him get 32 years and no parole for this type of crime and totally unfair. (Young) planned this. He had his parent’s life insurance policy hidden in his locker at school before the murder,” Suire said. “I don’t know where our family will go from here. There’s got to be greater regards for victims.”