Murderer, 17, asks judges for reduced sentence Student raped, killed his home teacher

August 25, 1993|By Alan J. Craver | Alan J. Craver,Staff Writer

A Columbia teen-ager serving life in prison for the rape and murder of his home teacher asked a panel of Howard Circuit Court judges for a reduced sentence yesterday.

Alton Romero Young, 17, requested that the judges give him a life sentence that would make him eligible for parole. He was sentenced in March without the possibility of parole.

Young was convicted of first-degree felony murder and first-degree rape in the March 1992 slaying of Shirley Mullinix of Dayton at Young's home in Kings Contrivance.

Young is in the Maryland Penitentiary in Baltimore. He has filed an appeal of his conviction to the state Court of Special Appeals.

Judges Dennis Sweeney, James Dudley and Cornelius Sybert Jr. did not make any ruling on Young's request following yesterday's hearing. They did not say when a decision would be made.

"This was not a cold and calculated crime that was committed," said Young's attorney, Assistant Public Defender Richard Bernhardt. "It was a crime of impulse."

Mr. Bernhardt also asked the judges to permit Young to serve his sentence in the Patuxent Institution in Jessup, where Young could get treatment for several emotional and psychological disorders.

Young had been suspended after he was caught having a sexual encounter with a girl in a Hammond High School restroom, according to a report by the state Office of Parole and Probation.

Assistant State's Attorney Joseph Murtha asked the judges not to change Young's sentence, arguing that the original sentence issued by Judge Raymond Kane Jr. is "just and appropriate."

"This [slaying] was the act of a very dangerous person," Mr. Murtha said. "Society needed to be protected and that is what Judge Kane did."

Young's mother, Winopa Addison, urged the judges to give her son the chance of getting parole.

"My son is not a hardened criminal," said Ms. Addison, choking back tears. "Alton made mistakes. Something happened and he lost control . . . Yes, his crime deserves punishment, but not life without parole."

But Wayne Mullinix, the victim's husband, asked the judges to keep Young in prison for the remainder of his life. He said Young betrayed his wife's trust when she agreed to tutor him when no other home teachers would because of his history of problems.

"Shirley took him in because she believed she could make a difference," Mr. Mullinix said. "She was trying to help Alton, and she was brutally attacked and murdered."

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