Commonwealth Journal

January 24, 2013

Teen’s case in death plot is waived to Grand Jury

Young faces 2 counts of attempted murder

by Heather Tomlinson
Commonwealth Journal

Somerset —  

A teenager accused of trying to kill his friend’s parents in their home will see his case go before a grand jury. 
Pulaski County District Judge Jeffrey Scott Lawless, presid-ing over the preliminary hearing for Paul Scott Young, 18, ruled that enough evidence had been presented by prosecutors Wednesday to send Young’s case to a grand jury for a possible indictment.
Young, who is charged with two counts of attempted murder, was arrested in the early morning hours of Wednesday, Jan. 16, after he allegedly attempted to stab a 17-year-old friend’s parents in their bedroom. 
He has pleaded not guilty to those charges. 
Det. Scott Trotter, with the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department, took the stand Wednesday and gave some details of the incident that left Edwin D. Phelps, 43, suffering from several knife wounds. 
Police said the Phelps’ 17-year-old son, who has not been named, let Young into the home after Edwin and his wife Laura E. Phelps, 44, had already gone to bed. 
Trotter said Young indicated that his friend asked him to kill his parents.
“He (Young) told me that the juvenile at the house had asked him to kill his parents, and he agreed to do so,” Trotter said on Wednesday. 
Trotter said Young “lost his nerve” one time — returning to the 17-year-old son’s bedroom in the family’s basement —after he learned the couple’s bedroom door was locked. Trotter said Young told him that his friend 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 allegedly attacked Edwin Phelps.
Young allegedly 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. 
The 17-year-old, who is not being identified because he is still a minor, appeared to be helping his father when investigators arrived, according to information provided by Lt. Det. Brett Whitaker, with the sheriff’s department. But they soon discovered that the two teenagers had allegedly hatched a plot to kill the couple. 
The juvenile has been charged with two counts of criminal solicitation to murder. 
When asked by Joe Venters, who is defending Young in the case, about Young’s appearance immediately following the incident and during interviews, Trotter described him as “calm.” Venters asked if Trotter found that strange, and Trotter answered that he did. 
Venters also asked whether Trotter had secured any written statements from Young on the incident, and Trotter answered that he hadn’t. 
Trotter said investigators have yet to find a concrete motive behind the plot. He did say that Young had indicated that the two friends had talked about “living in the house once the parents were gone.”
Trotter also said Young had been forbidden from visiting the 17-year-old at the Phelps’ home because he had “possibly took a stolen motorcycle to their house.”
Young, who has remained in the Pulaski County Detention Center on a $250,000 bond since his arrest, has been charged for violating his pretrial diversion conditions on a separate burglary case as well.
Venters, speaking to reporters after the hearing, emphasized that the court on Wednesday heard only “one side” of the case. 
“Obviously, these are disturbing allegations,” Venters said. “The portrayal to this point of (Young) has been he is some kind of monster, and that’s not true.
“We’re very early in the process ... the facts of this case will come out,” Venters said.
Venters added that Young’s family has been supportive.
“They (Young’s family) are upset and saddened for (Young) and for the (Phelps family).”