Commonwealth Journal

December 19, 2013

Man gets 10 years for plotting to kill parents

by Heather Tomlinson
Commonwealth Journal

Somerset — A local teenager was sentenced to a decade in prison this week for his role in a plot to murder his parents.

Pulaski Circuit Judge Jeffrey T. Burdette on Thursday sentenced Tyler A. Phelps, 18, to 10 years in prison in connection with the attempted killing of Edwin D. Phelps, 43, and Laura E. Phelps, 44, in the family’s home.

Burdette moved to classify Phelps as a violent offender, which had been requested by Pulaski County Common-wealth’s Attorney Eddy Montgomery. That ruling is based on the seriousness of Edwin Phelps’ injuries, which were sustained when Tyler Phelps’ friend, Paul Scott Young, also 18, attacked him in the couple’s bedroom on Jan. 16, 2013 after they had gone to bed.

Tyler Phelps pleaded guilty by way of Alford plea in November to one count of criminal solicitation to commit murder in connection with the incident. An Alford plea is entered when the defendant maintains his or her innocence but acknowledges that enough evidence exists to bring about a conviction.

Young in October pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted murder. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Burdette also classified Young as a violent offender in connection with the case.

The violent offender classification means both teenagers will have to complete 85 percent of their sentences before they become eligible for parole.

Tyler Phelps was charged initially with two counts of criminal solicitation to commit murder. Phelps and Young were arrested after Young tried to stab Edwin Phelps and Laura Phelps as part of the murder plot.

Police said Tyler Phelps let Young into the home he shared with his parents and asked that Young kill them while they slept in their bed. Young indicated in previous court hearings that Tyler Phelps asked Young to kill Edwin and Laura Phelps.

Pulaski County Detective Scott Trotter testified during a preliminary hearing that Young “lost his nerve” one time — returning to Tyler Phelps’ bedroom in the family’s basement —after he learned the couple’s bedroom door was locked. Trotter said Young told him that Tyler Phelps again asked him to go back and kill his parents, and Young turned around and went back upstairs to the bedroom.

Young broke into the couple’s bedroom and attacked Edwin Phelps with a knife, and Trotter stated Edwin Phelps was cut 10 to 11 times. Trotter said most of those wounds were limited to Edwin Phelps’ arm, but he said he was also cut on his ear, and he suffered a puncture wound to his temple that caused a skull fracture.

Despite those injuries, Edwin Phelps reportedly was able to subdue Young until authorities arrived.

Laura Phelps only suffered minor injuries in the scuffle.