Update November 24th, 2009: Donald Younge appears for preliminary hearing, Judge Ann Boyden orders the case to go to trial. Updated post HERE.
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. Full story by KSL Channel 5, the Deseret News, and KTVX Channel 4. Illinois perspective presented by the Belleville (IL) News-Democrat.
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 death penalty.
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 but survived.
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 after that.
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. More details about the Illinois case HERE; Illinois activities also discussed on the Crime And Justice Forum.
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 penalty.
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. Younge's name is also on a list of black serial killers currently circulating on the Web; the most comprehensive list is published HERE.