Old issue gets appeal nod from Arkansas Supreme Court
A woman, convicted of murdering a rural Cave City man with her husband in January 2006, will get another day in court.
Third Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Henry Boyce said the Arkansas Supreme Court remanded an appeal in the capital murder case of Leslie A. "Williams" Young, 35. The decision was handed down May 31.
"The opinion affirms the jury's verdict but remands the case back to the judge on a limited issue," Boyce said.
The issue lies in a statement Young made to the sheriff after she was taken into custody. Weaver told her something bad had happened and she responded, "I didn't do it."
"That's the statement the court is saying should or should not have been heard by the jury," Boyce said.
The state says Young had been mirandized by Arkansas State Trooper Jeremy Page before she arrived at the Sharp County Jail. However, Page did not take the stand to testify that he had mirandized Young during her trial.
"Under case law, any time a statement is made in custody, it is a legal presumption that it is involuntary," Boyce said. "It's the state's burden to show it is voluntary."
The issue isn't new. Before Young's trial began, a hearing was held on the admissibility of the statement. It was determined it could be allowed in court, Boyce said.
"I don't know what happens," Boyce said, adding that every other point appealed was denied. "I anticipate the judge will rule in our favor."
"I know a Sharp County jury sentenced her to life in prison. I think we have a clean conviction," he said.
The hearing will take place in Sharp County Circuit Court with Judge Harold Erwin presiding. The hearing has not been scheduled as of yet.
"I'm not sure I've seen a conviction by a jury that hasn't been appealed. She got hit pretty hard. Life plus 53 years or something. The only thing you can do is appeal," Boyce said.
Young was convicted July 21, 2006, for the murder of 38-year-old Stephen Furr of rural Cave City. A jury of six men and six women found her guilty of capital murder, aggravated robbery, attempted arson and two counts of theft.
Young received an automatic sentence of life in prison without parole for the capital murder conviction, 40 years for aggravated robbery, 10 years for one count of theft, three years on the other count of theft and 90 days for the attempted arson charge.
Young's husband, William Franklin Young Jr., was convicted Jan. 11 on the same charges for Furr's murder. He received an automatic sentence of life in prison without parole for the capital murder conviction. The jury sentenced him to another life sentence for aggravated robbery, 20 years and a $15,000 fine for residential burglary, 10 years and a $10,000 fine for one count of theft and 20 years and $15,000 on the other count of theft.
Furr, a self-employed heating and cooling technician, was found stabbed to death in a recliner inside his home at 17 Buck Lane, outside Cave City, Jan. 2 by his two sons, Chase and Douglas, then ages 12 and 9. The boys had gone to the home to retrieve a Play Station 2 game system they had left at the home. Furr had been stabbed 12 times in the torso, arms and neck. A flathead screwdriver and an Old Hickory kitchen knife, both blood-stained, were found underneath him in the chair.