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Sunday, June 10,2012

Woman accused of killing 4-year-old wants to file insanity plea

Photo Credits:
Photo Caption: Ashley Young

Having failed in an attempt to be found not competent to stand trial for the alleged murder of her 4-year-old stepdaughter, a woman from The Plains is now asking to be allowed to plead not guilty by reason of insanity.

An expert employed by the defense attorney for 26-year-old Ashley J. Young has indicated that he believes Young may not have known right from wrong at the time she committed the offense.

Late last month Glenn Jones of the Ohio Public Defender's office, who is the defense attorney for Young, filed a motion in Athens County Common Pleas Court asking Judge Michael Ward for permission to enter a written "NGRI" plea on Young's behalf.

In a memorandum filed last Tuesday, Jones noted that Young was placed at the Timothy Moritz Forensic Center in Columbus after Judge Ward ruled last October that she was not competent to stand trial for the murder of stepdaughter Kaylen Young, but might be restored to competency.

Last month, based on a psychiatrist's report, both Jones and the Athens County Prosecutor's Office agreed to stipulate that Young is now competent for trial. She was returned to the Southeast Ohio Regional Jail in Nelsonville, where she now awaits trial on charges of aggravated murder, "felony murder," endangering children, evidence tampering and attempted aggravated possession of drugs.

Since then, according to Jones' memorandum, the defense has received a report from its own expert, psychologist James Reardon, which it has provided to the prosecutor's office.

"Dr. Reardon is of the opinion that (Young), because of severe mental disease or defect, did not know the wrongfulness of her acts," the memo states. If true, this would qualify her to plead not guilty by reason of insanity under Ohio law.

Young is alleged to have assaulted her stepdaughter at their home in The Plains in May 2011, causing severe head injuries that led to the child's death.

She is also accused of having hidden a piece of the girl's clothing from investigators, and to have tried, while on the way to a local hospital where Kaylen had been taken, to arrange an illegal drug buy.

On Thursday, Ward issued an order that an evaluation be done of Young's mental condition at the time of the alleged offenses.


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