Donald Eugene Younge: Prosecutorial Misconduct?
By Jesse Fruhwirth - CityWeekly.net
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
and University of Utah student Amy Quinton, 22, was preparing to
graduate in 1999. She did—posthumously.
3, as the summer semester waned and Quinton was only two German finals
from graduating, a man slid through her sliding-glass door at 127 S. 800
East, held a knife to her roommate’s throat and demanded cash.
called 911, but the intruder caught her and hung up the phone. The
operator called back, but the intruder politely told the operator the
call had been a mistake. Quinton and her two roommates were tied up with
duct tape. Before leaving, the intruder struck one of the roommates in
the head, non-fatally stabbed the other roommate, then stabbed Quinton,
piercing her heart and killing her.
Eugene Younge, 43, an inmate at the Utah State Prison, originally from
East St. Louis, Mo., was charged almost a decade later with the murder
of Quinton. He is on trial in 3rd District Court and facing the death
penalty, if convicted. His attorney, Michael Misner, proved last year
that Salt Lake City Police once violated Younge’s constitutional rights
and now argues prosecutors are bending the rules. The violations, if
proven, could result in the case being dismissed.
faces nine first-degree felony charges and one capital aggravated murder
charge for Quinton’s death, but he’s already serving two life terms in
three years before Quinton’s murder, in November 1996, a 23-year-old U
student told police she was walking home after a night class near her
home at 465 S. 1200 East when a man mugged and raped her in a nearby
alley. Still without any suspects in March 2000, prosecutors filed
Utah’s first warrant that contained only a suspect’s DNA profile—taken
from semen on the victim’s body—but not his name. That prevented the
statute of limitations—then just four years for rape cases in Utah—from
expiring (in 2008, the Utah Legislature eliminated the statute of
limitations for first-degree felony sex crimes, including rape). In
December 2009, with evidence that the DNA was Younge’s, he was convicted
and sentenced to 31-years-to-life in prison.
years earlier, in March 2002, that the DNA profile from the rape case
was tied to Younge. At that time, he was in an Illinois jail awaiting
trial for rape and unlawful detention of a prostitute named Antonina
Brummond, in December 1999. In April 2002, Salt Lake City Police
Detective Mark Scharman visited Younge in Illinois, and, according to a
ruling from Utah 3rd District Judge Deno Himonas, violated Younge’s
right to have an attorney present during the interview. Police said at
the time that Scharman would be interviewing Younge about the Quinton
still awaiting trial in the Illinois rape case, in June 2002, Younge was
charged with the “garbage bag” murders, as the St. Louis Post Dispatch
called them, of three prostitutes ages 31 to 38, whose bodies were found
in similar garbage bags within a six-block radius in East St. Louis.
Brummond, the victim in the rape case, was the key witness for the
prosecution in the triple-murder case. Garbage bags similar to the ones
containing the bodies were allegedly seized from Younge’s home. Illinois
prosecutors sought the death penalty.
2004, Brummond was stabbed to death in an incident unrelated to Younge.
Illinois prosecutors immediately dropped the rape charge against him and
announced they would no longer seek the death penalty in the triple-murder
Lake County District Attorney’s Office has never explained why Younge
was a suspect in Quinton’s murder for seven years before they actually
filed charges against him, but in May 2008, he was charged. In February
2009, after Younge had spent nearly seven years in an Illinois jail
without a trial, prosecutors there dropped the murder charges against
him, citing questions about the honesty of a lab technician and the loss
of Brummond. Younge was extradited to Utah in March 2009 for a second
round of rape and murder charges.
allegations of prosecutorial misconduct precede Younge’s extradition to
Utah. Misner says a report from Salt Lake City-based Sorenson Forensics,
prepared for the district attorney’s office, found male DNA on Quinton’s
phone, on duct tape used to tie her up and under Quinton’s fingernails—none
of which matched Younge.
says that report is dated Feb. 21, 2008, two months before prosecutors
charged Younge with the murder, and 18 months before they offered Younge
a “global” plea deal for charges in both cases. The deal was for him to
plead guilty to one count of aggravated sexual assault and one count of
capital murder. Prosecutors, rather than seek the death penalty, also
offered to recommend to the judge that Younge be eligible for parole.
says he urged Younge to take the deal, but Younge refused. A week or two
later, Misner says, he received the evidence from prosecutors that male
DNA in Quinton’s apartment was not Younge’s. He alleges prosecutors
withheld that evidence from the defense for 18 months and through five
rounds of discovery (in which prosecutors are obligated to provide their
evidence to the defense). “The DNA says it’s somebody else,” Misner said
at a Feb. 26 motion hearing. “The fair remedy … is to dismiss this case.
This is clearly misconduct [and] bad faith. … Something fishy is going
on. I don’t trust [the prosecutors].”
prosecutor Vincent Meister, however, says they received the Sorenson
report only shortly before they provided it to the defense, not 18
months. Besides saying that one of Quinton’s roommates identified Younge
as the murderer years ago, Meister would not discuss the DNA nor any
other evidence that may tie Younge to the Quinton murder. “We [have]
handled this case professionally,” he said after the Feb. 26 hearing.
necessary, we’ll have an evidentiary hearing to deal with [Misner’s
also claims prosecutors are changing facts from case to case. In the
rape case, Younge’s attorneys forced prosecutors to prove that the
charges were filed within the statute of limitations. A detective
testified that Younge had left Utah in March 1999. That suited
prosecutors then, Misner says, because the statute of limitations “tolls,”
or stops accumulating, while the defendant is out of state.
evidentiary hearing, Himonas ruled Dec. 8, 2009, that a “preponderance
of the evidence” shows the statute of limitations tolled beginning March
1999, which implies that Younge had left Utah several months before
Quinton was murdered. Misner wants the case dismissed on those grounds,
but prosecutors say it’s for a jury to decide whether Younge was in the
state to kill Quinton, regardless of the judge’s ruling.
on the case are expected to file more written argument before Himonas
rules on the motions. Younge will next be in court on March 26 for a
Nov. 7 1996, a 23-year-old University of Utah student is mugged of $16
and raped in an alley near her home 465 S. 1200 East, Salt Lake City,
while walking home from a night class
March 1999 - The alleged month that Younge left Utah (see item Dec. 9,
April 1999 - Amy Quinton plays "Jane Webster," a best friend to the
lead character, in Afternoon of the Elves, performed at the Babcock
August 3, 1999 - University of Utah theater student Amy Quinton, 22,
stabbed to death in her condo, 127 S. 800 East. Roommate Erin Warn,
19, was stabbed, but survived. Third roommate Lynn Drebes, 37, was hit
in the head. Forty minutes after the murder, one of the victim's debit
cards was used outside Park City, and elevan hours later in Steamboat
Spring, Colo., but never again.
Summer 1999 - Amy Quinton is posthumously granted a degree in theater
from University of Utah. She was only two final exams away from
graduating at the time of her death.
March 2000 - "John Doe"/DNA warrant filed as statute of limitations
was running low. Two counts of aggravated sexual assault and one count
of robbery are filed against John Doe, later identified as Younge.
March 25, 2000 - FOX's America's Most Wanted features the Amy Quinton
February to May 2000 - The bodies of five dead women are found in a
six-block area of East St. Louis, Missourri. At least three were found
in similar-type garbage bags.
Sometime in 2000 - Younge was convicted in an auto theft and sent to
Dec. 28, 2001 - Younge is paroled on the auto theft charge.
March 2002 - It's announced that the DNA profile from the Nov. 1996
rape matches Younge, who's on trial in Illinois for a December 1999
sexual assault/rape and unlawful detention of a prostitute, Antonina
June 2002 - Younge, in Belville, Ill., jail awaiting trail for the
rape of Brummond, is charged in the "garbage bag" killings of
prostitutes in East St. Louis. Younge is charged with three counts of
first-degree murder and is a suspect in a fourth. Victims: Seriece
Johnson, cause of death unknown, 33; Ramona Sidney, 31, six children,
cause of death unknown; and Tracy Williams, 38, three children,
strangled. Each were from East St. Louis, all reportedly were
prostitutes known to police. "They were found in separate plastic
garbage bags discarded in weeded lots in the southern part of East St.
Louis," according ot the St. Louis Post Dispatch. "The bodies of
Sidney and Williams were found May 18, 2000, after someone reported
seeing a dog gnawing on a human thigh bone." A roll of garbage bags
was reportedly seized from Younge's house in East St. Louis. Younge
was not charged but news reports listed him as a suspect in the death
of Yvette House, 33, who was not found in a garbage bag but was found
near the other bodies; she was pregnant with her 12th child.
August 2002 - Salt Lake investigators visit Younge in the Illinois
jail to ask him about the Quinton murder.
Sept. 17, 2002 - SLDA amends the "John Doe"/DNA warrant in the rape
case to include Younge's name.
November 2002 - Illi. prosecutors say they'll seek the death penalty
against Younge in the triple-murder case
January 2003 - Illinois Governor George Ryan commutes the death
sentences of all Illinois inmates, but prosecutors pledge to seek the
death penalty against Younge, and others, anyway. Ryan had previously
halted all executions in 2000. Seven East St. Louis death-row inmates
were commuted, but four defendants, including Younge, still faced
capital punishment in their pending cases.
March 18, 2004 - Illi. prosecutors say their key witness in that case,
Antonina Brummond, was herself murdered, unrelated to Younge's case.
Prosecutors dropped the rape case and backed off the death penatly in
the triple-murder case.
Feb. 21, 2008 - Salt Lake City-based Sorenson Forensics tests samples
from the phone and duct tape used in the home-invasion/murder of
Quinton. According to defense attorney Michael Miser in 2010, male DNA
was found that did not belong to Younge.
May 22, 2008 - Younge is charged with the Quinton murder.
March 2, 2009 - Younge is extradicted to Utah. The Illinois murder
charges were dropped. Salt Lake Coutny District Attorney's Office
would later say the loss of key-witness Drummond and a potentially
dishonest state's witness provoked the dismissal.
October 23-27 2009 - Motion and evidentiary hearing is held in
Younge's rape case. Younge argues his Miranda rights were violated by
a Salt Lake City Police Detective Mark Scharman who came to Illinois
to interview him. Third District Judge Deno Himonas ruled Younge's
rights were violated and the contents of the interview would not be
admitted as evidence at trial. Younge also argues that the "John Doe"/DNA
warrant is illegal because it did not give him proper notice that he
was charged with a crime.
Nov. 2009 - Quinton's roommates, Warn and Drebes, testify against
Younge in the preliminary hearing in the Quinton murder case
Nov. 2009 - Prosecutors make a "global" offer to Younge: plead guilty
to one count of aggravated sexual abuse and one count of capital
homicide, we'll recommend life with parole, all other charges will be
dropped. Younge's attorney encouraged him to take the offer, but
Later in November 2009 - Misner says he was told only after the plea
deal was made and rejected that DNA tests had discovered male DNA on
Quinton's telephone and the duct tape used to tie up the women, but it
does not belong to Younge. Misner alleges this is a discovery
violation and prosecutorial misconduct.
Dec. 9, 2009 - Himonas rules in the rape case regarding statute of
limitations, "Detective Wasmuth's testimony and documents admitted
into evidence demonstrate that Defendant was outside the jurisdiction
of Utah from March 1999 until he was extradited to Utah on February
28, 2009. There is no evidence to the contrary."
Dec. 13, 2009 - The 1996 rape victim testifies at trial.
Dec. 14, 2009 - Mid-trial in the rape case, Salt Lake County District
Attorney's Office announces they'll seek the death penalty against
Younge for the Quinton murder
Dec. 16, 2009 - Younge is convicted in the rape case, jury deliberates
Jan. 15, 2010 - Younge is sentenced to 31 years to life in prison in
the rape case
Feb. 26, 2010 - Younge's attorneys accuse prosecutors of misconduct in
the Quinton murder trial
Accused Black Serial Killer
Donald E. Younge Now Formally Charged With 1999 Murder Of Utah Student
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Nearly a decade after her murder, charges have been
filed in the death of a University of Utah student. Amy Quinton was
killed in her Salt Lake City apartment in 1999. Donald Eugene Younge was
a person of interest back then, and prosecutors aren't saying why the
charges are coming now.
Younge was charged Thursday May 22nd in 3rd District
Court with aggravated murder, two counts of attempted aggravated murder,
three counts of aggravated kidnapping, three counts of aggravated
robbery and one count of aggravated burglary. All charges are first
degree felonies. An aggravated murder charge carries a possible death
sentence. The Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office has 60 days
after a defendant is arraigned to determine whether or not to seek the
Deputy District Attorney Alicia Cook of the Salt Lake
County District Attorney's Office, said, "We are very glad to bring
the case to this point where we can actually file charges against the
defendant for something that was obviously a very heinous crime and
impacted too many members of our community."
Prosecutors have strong evidence against Donald
Younge, including a positive ID from one of his alleged victims. "We
know that defendant Younge was in the area of Salt Lake at that time.
There was an acquaintance of his who had seen him in Salt Lake just that
evening", Cook said.
Amy Quinton was killed on August 3rd, 1999, after an
unknown man entered her and her roommates' condo, 127 S. 800 East,
through an unlocked sliding glass door. Three people, including Quinton,
were home at the time. Quinton was studying and one roommate was
watching a movie when Younge entered, according to court documents. When
the girl watching the movie got up to go to the kitchen, she was met by
Younge who held a knife to her throat and told her to be quiet or he
would kill her, the documents state.
The girl began to struggle with Younge and Quinton
dialed 911. Younge entered Quinton's room and told her to hang up or he
would kill all three of them, according to prosecutors. When dispatchers
called back, Younge answered the phone and said everything was fine. A
cousing of Younge's confirmed it was Younge's voice on the 911 tape.
He gave the girls duct tape and told them to tape
each other up, according to court documents. After the girls handed over
their wallets, Younge began to leave. "Younge started to leave the
apartment but returned quickly, stabbed (one girl), hit (another girl)
in the head and then stabbed Amy Quinton in the chest," the charges
state. The other girl was taken to the hospital in critical condition
After the slaying, investigators were able to track
Younge for a short time as he used Quinton's credit cards to buy gas in
Park City and Steamboat Springs, CO. Detectives, however, lost his trail
Younge abruptly re-surfaced in Illinois in 2002. He
was arrested and jailed in St. Clair County, Ill. in January of 2002
where he has remained ever since. He was charged with three counts of
first degree murder for the brutal slayings and dismemberments of three
prostitutes in East St. Louis, Ill. in 1999. A fourth prostitute said
she was also attacked by Younge but survived.
For a time, it appeared as though Younge would face
the death penalty in Illinois. But the fourth prostitute was killed in
an unrelated incident in 2002. Shortly after, prosecutors noted their
key witness was dead and abandoned their effort to seek the death
DNA has also tied Younge to a 1996 sexual assault
case in Salt Lake City. Prosecutors never filed formal charges on that
case because Younge is facing capital murder charges in Illinois.
Man charged in 9-year-old murder of
May 22nd, 2008
A nine-year-old Utah murder case has been
solved. The Salt Lake County District Attorney's office says
it knows who killed a University of Utah student back in
1999 and that the man is already locked up in another state
Charging documents say that on Aug. 2,
1999, Younge barged into Quinton's apartment. They say
Younge terrorized three women inside and demanded their
wallets. Quinton's roommate was stabbed. Quinton, a 22-year-old
theater major at the University of Utah, also was stabbed
and died. The charge is bringing back memories to one of her
Murder trial might serve partial justice
Richard Scharine, Amy's theater professor, says, "I lost a
friend, and I lost a student." He was a professor in the
University of Utah's Theater Department in 1999 and
remembers Amy Quinton well. "She was a sweet kid to have
It was a day before her final exam at the
University of Utah when the district attorney's office says
Donald Younge stormed in her apartment and killed her.
During it all, one of the girls was able to call 911, but
the phone was disconnected. When a dispatcher called back,
The 911 dispatcher said, "Hi, this is Kathryn at
Salt Lake City 911. We've just received a hang-up
call from this number."
The suspect told her, "We're
OK. It was a mistake."
The dispatcher said, "Well,
unfortunately we have to send officers out."
The suspect said, "OK."
And the dispatcher asked, "So
why don't you tell me what the problem is."
Nine years later, the
district attorney's office was finally able to
charge him with murder after a relative
identified Younge's voice on that 911 call.
Investigators also verified Younge was in Salt
Lake the night of the stabbing, and one of the
victims identified Younge.
Younge is currently locked up
in Illinois, accused in three murders. Quinton
Scharine said, "We missed her
a lot when she was gone." He likely won't forget
Quinton, because he was a speaker at the special
ceremony held in her honor at the Babcock
Theater on the U campus. "I remember seeing
friends of her in the seats, crying during the
ceremony," he said.
The theater's season was
dedicated to her that year, and her parents
received her diploma. Her parents live out of
state, but we talked to Quinton's mother over
the phone today. She says she's happy Salt Lake
police did not forget about her daughter.
It's unclear when Younge will
be in Utah to faces charges. It all depends on
how the murder cases in Illinois progress. DNA
tied Younge to a 1996 sexual assault case in
Salt Lake City. Prosecutors never filed formal
charges on that case because Younge is facing
capital murder charges in Illinois.
suspected in multiple killings
By Beth Hundsdorfer - News-Democrat
Mar 20, 2006
They started disappearing from
darkened East St. Louis streets in 2000 where they tried to sell sex,
chasing cash to feed their crack cocaine addictions.
Their decomposing bodies turned up weeks after their
disappearances in trash bags tossed in high weeds near the Black Bridge
near 20th Street in East St. Louis.
Seriece Johnson, 33, and Yvette House,
29, who were former neighbors, were found Feb. 2, 2000, in a field of
high weeds near 20th Street.
Tracy Williams, 38, and Ramona Sidney,
32, were found on May 18, 2000, under the railroad overpass. The badly
decomposed bodies were stuffed in green, plastic trash bags.
Mary Shields' strangled body was found July
31, 2000, within four blocks of the other four women. She was 61.
For weeks, there wasn't a break in the case.
Police then connected a sadistic sexual assault that
happened two weeks before Johnson and House's bodies were found.
Antonina Brummund escaped from her attacker on
Dec. 29, 1999, after being beaten and raped after her hands and feet
bound with electrical tape.
The front porch of a home at 1955 Central Ave.
searched by police in August 2000 overlooked the dump sites where the
women's bodies were found.
The home's occupant -- Donald E. Younge Jr. -- became
the prime suspect.
But more than five years after the murders and nearly
four years after he was charged, Younge remains in the St. Clair County
Jail awaiting trial.
Younge, 38, was indicted in June 2002 on murder
charges in connection with the deaths of Johnson, Sidney and Williams.
The investigation into the deaths of House and Shields remains open.
Brummund testified before the grand jury as a
With an indictment in hand, prosecutors quickly
announced they would seek the death penalty against Younge, who remained
in the St. Clair County Jail on $5 million bail.
Three weeks before Younge was set to go trial,
Brummund's body was found in an abandoned warehouse 15th Street and Bond
Avenue in East St. Louis.
She had been strangled and stabbed.
More than a year of investigation hasn't turned up a
"We don't have anyone charged with Nina's murder at
this point," said Illinois State Police Lt. Greg Fernandez. "We don't
believe her involvement with Younge's case is related to her murder."
After Younge's arrest in Illinois, Utah's interest
Younge lived in the Salt Lake City area for about
eight years beginning in 1992.
Younge became the prime suspect in murder of college
coed Amy Quinton who was murdered in her Salt Lake City apartment
in August 1999.
Quinton's attacker entered through an open door,
carrying duct tape and a knife. He took two of the girls' wallets, then
left. Quinton called 911. Younge returned and Quinton hung up. Younge
stabbed her. The 911 operator called back and Younge told the police
dispatcher everything was OK.
Quinton died from a stab wound to her abdomen.
Quinton's roommate identified Younge as the man who
came into the apartment.
A relative of Younge's identified his voice on the
Seven years after Quinton's murder, no one has been
charged with her murder.
"I've lost my faith in the criminal justice system,"
said Judy Quinton, Amy's mother. " ... After I learned they dropped the
death penalty in Illinois, I just became very disappointed."
Though Younge hasn't been charged with Quinton's
murder, he does face rape and robbery charges in connection with another
attack on a coed in 1996.
A man attacked the victim who was walking home from
an evening class on Nov. 7, 1996. The attacker knocked the woman down,
dragged her to an alley where she was beaten, forced to perform oral sex
and raped. Before he fled the scene, the rapist took $16 from the woman.
Prosecutors filed charges in 1996 against the owner
of the particular DNA profile collected from the rape victim. For the
time being, the rapist was only known as "John Doe."
"It was the first time this had been done in Utah,"
said Bob Stott of the Salt Lake County district attorney's office.
After DNA from the East St. Louis cases was processed
and a match was discovered, prosecutors filed charges against Younge.
At the time of the attack, Younge was on parole.
Younge received a five-year sentence in Utah
Department of Corrections for failing to obey an officer.
On Feb. 6, 1994, Younge blasted through a double-fatal
accident scene at more than 100 mph where Utah Highway Patrol Officer
David Excell was controlling traffic.
"It was so dangerous," Excell said. "It just made me
angry, so I started to follow him."
It didn't take long for Excell to discover Younge was
in a stolen car taken in a California carjacking.
The chase ended when Younge rolled the vehicle during
the high-speed chase in southern Utah.
Younge was released on parole at least three times,
but always returned to prison because of violations, said Utah
Department of Corrections spokesman Jack Ford.
Younge was convicted of kidnapping and domestic
assault in 1998; domestic assault in 1997 and assault and domestic
battery in 1996.
Younge served most of his time in maximum security
due to disciplinary problems, Ford said.
After Illinois prosecutors prosecute Younge, Stott
said Utah would ask for Younge to return to their state for prosecution.
Stott didn't know Illinois prosecutors pulled the death penalty.
"It's a surprise to me," Stott said.
Younge is scheduled to go to trial in Belleville on
May 2. He could receive up to 60 years in prison.
But Judy Quinton won't be there. She hopes one day
Younge will face Utah justice in connection with her daughter's murder,
but remains skeptical.
"At some point, you just resign yourself to whatever
happens," Quinton said. "In the end, whatever happens, it won't change
what happened to Amy."