Life sentence for 17-year-old killer upheld Teen raped and murdered teacher

August 31, 1993|By Alan J. Craver | Alan J. Craver,Staff Writer

A Columbia teen-ager who raped and murdered his home teacher has lost his bid for a reduction of his life sentence.

A panel of three judges issued a ruling Friday that affirmed the sentence of Alton Romero Young, a 17-year-old serving life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Young wanted the judges to make him eligible for parole.

Young was convicted of first-degree felony murder and first-degree rape for the March 1992 killing of Shirley Rue Mullinix at his Kings Contrivance home. He dumped her body behind a nearby convenience store.

Assistant State's Attorney Joseph Murtha, who prosecuted the case, said he does not believe evidence presented by the defense in support of a modified sentence was enough to sway the panel of judges.

Young's attorney, Assistant Public Defender Richard Bernhardt, could not be reached for comment. At a court hearing Aug. 24, Mr. Bernhardt argued that the sentence issued by Judge Raymond Kane Jr. in March was "excessive and unjust."

A psychiatrist testified that Young suffers from several emotional and psychological disorders that could be treated at Patuxent Institution in Jessup, Maryland's rehabilitation prison.

Young's mother urged the judges to make her son eligible for parole. Meanwhile, the victim's husband asked the panel to keep Young's sentence the same.

Mr. Murtha argued at the hearing that Young's sentence should not be altered because Young was a danger to society.

The two-page ruling by judges Dennis Sweeney, Cornelius Sybert Jr. and James Dudley summarized the history of the case but did not explain the decision.

"The testimony of the witnesses presented at the hearing has been fully considered by the panel and, in the opinion of the panel, does not require a change in the sentence," the ruling says.

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

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