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Young sentenced to 20 years in death of elderly man

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A Handley man will spend up to 20 years in prison for the beating death of an 81-year-old Kellys Creek man, a Kanawha County judge ruled on Friday.

Ernest Lyle Young Jr., 28, was sentenced Friday on second-degree murder charges in the death of Wilfred Naylor. Prosecutors said Young bludgeoned the elderly man to death with a hickory police baton, or riot stick.

Young alleged that Naylor was making sexual advances toward him the night of the killing, and a psychologist hired by the defense said Young told them Naylor had sexually abused him as a child.

"I express my deep sorrow for your loss," Young told Naylor's son, Greg, during Friday's hearing. "I could tell you I'm sorry, sir, a million times to your face and it wouldn't lessen your sadness."

During Friday's sentencing hearing, Dr. Timothy Saar, a psychologist, said that Naylor befriended Young several years ago, and Young eventually came to regard Naylor as a father figure.

In June 2011, after his wife had filed a domestic violence protective order against him in Kanawha County Magistrate Court, Young called Naylor to pick him up because he did not have a place to stay that night.

At one point, Naylor and Young had an argument in Naylor's vehicle. Naylor allegedly grabbed his own crotch and made sexual comments to Young. He continued to make the advances when they arrived at his house, according to Young's statements to Saar.

At the house, Naylor allegedly continued to make advances and at one point backed Young into a corner with the riot stick and threatened to kill him. Young, according to the doctor, "stepped outside of himself," lost control of his emotions and beat Naylor to death with the baton.

Saar, based on Young's previous experiences with Naylor, said that Young exhibited signs of post-traumatic stress disorder. The doctor said that Young did not appear to be at a high risk to re-offend but recommended that he receive therapy for sexual trauma.

Ginger Young, Young's wife, testified that she filed the original protective order against her husband out of anger because she thought he was talking to another woman over the phone. She found out later that he was talking to a male friend, she said. The Youngs have a 2-year-old child.

"He was an excellent father, he was an excellent husband, he's had a lot of trauma in his life, he's not a bad person whatsoever," she said.

Assistant Kanawha County prosecutor Charles Miller pointed out that Young has several convictions for domestic violence offenses. He also noted that Ginger Young got the protective order by going to the Kanawha County Courthouse, appearing before a magistrate and alleging that he husband threatened to hit her.

Ginger Young denied Friday that she alleged that her husband threatened her. She added later that she revoked the protective order before she knew her husband had been arrested on the murder charges.

A grand jury indicted Young last year on charges of first-degree murder linked to Naylor's death. He pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in July, which carries a 10-40 year sentence. In exchange for the plea, Miller recommended that Kanawha Circuit Judge James Stucky impose a 20-year sentence.

Miller said during Young's plea hearing in July that the state agreed to reduce the charges because Young agreed to testify against his South Central Regional Jail cellmate, Brandon Levert "BG" Gray, in his murder trial.

Gray had allegedly confided in Young that he shot and killed a man on the West Side to settle a drug debt. Young relayed that information to police.

Reach Zac Taylor at Zachary.Taylor@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5189.


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