Commonwealth Journal

September 13, 2013

Pulaski teen pleads guilty in plot to murder friend’s parents

by Heather Tomlinson
Commonwealth Journal

Somerset — A Pulaski County teen accused of trying to kill his friend’s parents this week pleaded guilty to related charges.

Paul Scott Young, 18, appeared before Pulaski Circuit Court Judge Jeffrey T. Burdette and pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted murder in connection with the Jan. 16, 2013 incident in which he tried to stab Edwin D. Phelps, 43, and Laura E. Phelps, 44, in their home.

Young was indicted earlier this year on two counts of attempted murder. He had initially pleaded not guilty to those charges after his arrest in January.

Young was arrested in the early morning hours of Wednesday, Jan. 16, after his friend, identified in court records as Tyler A. Phelps, 18, allegedly asked him to kill his parents, Edwin and Laura Phelps.

Tyler Phelps was indicted in April on two counts of criminal solicitation to commit murder in connection with the case. His trial date is set for Nov. 6, 2013.

Although Phelps was a juvenile when the incident occurred, he has since turned 18 years old. Also, juveniles’ court records become unsealed once they’re indicted in circuit court.

When asked by Burdette during Thursday’s hearing whether he was asked by Tyler Phelps to kill Edwin and Laura Phelps, Young answered that his friend had indeed requested that he carry out the crime.

According to preliminary hearing testimony from detectives with the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department, Tyler Phelps let Young into their home on Spring Valley Drive after Edwin and Laura Phelps had already gone to sleep.

Police have stated that Young indicated that Phelps asked him to kill his parents.

“He (Young) told me that (Phelps) ... had asked him to kill his parents, and he agreed to do so,” said Detective Scott Trotter during the January preliminary hearing.

Trotter did not identify Tyler Phelps by name during Young’s January preliminary hearing, as he’d not yet been indicted and was not yet 18 years old.

Trotter testified 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.

Trotter said statements given by both Edwin and Laura Phelps suggest that Young broke into the couple’s bedroom and “leaped across the bed toward (Edwin),” who was in the bathroom when Young entered the room. Trotter said Edwin told investigators he heard his wife scream before he entered the bedroom and he saw Young. Young had to move over the bed and over Laura Phelps when he attacked Edwin Phelps.

Young 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 by getting him in what Trotter called a “choke hold” until authorities could arrive.

Edwin Phelps was taken by ambulance to Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital and later to the University of Kentucky Medical Center. He has since been released. Laura Phelps only suffered minor injuries in the scuffle.

Investigators said Tyler Phelps appeared to be aiding his parents when they arrived, but they soon discovered that the two teenagers had allegedly hatched a plot to kill the couple.

Pulaski County Commonwealth’s Attorney Eddy F. Montgomery said he will recommend a 10-year sentence for Young, and he said he plans to request that Judge Burdette classify the attempted murder against Edwin Phelps as a violent crime, which would require that Young complete 85 percent of his prison term before becoming eligible for parole.

A sentencing hearing is set for Young on Oct. 17.

Both Young and Tyler Phelps remain in the Pulaski County Detention Center.