A rapist identified by DNA six years after the crime was committed is asking the Utah Supreme Court to throw out his conviction because he was not given a speedy trial. Donald Younge Jr., 46, is appealing his convictions for two first-degree felony counts of aggravated sexual assault and one second-degree felony count of robbery.
On November 7, 1996, Younge brutally attacked, robbed and raped a 23-year-old University of Utah student as she was walking home from campus. Prosecutors filed charges in 2000 against a “John Doe” based on the DNA evidence recovered from the victim to make sure the prosecution began within the four-year statute of limitations.
The FBI database made a DNA match to Younge in 2002 while he was being held in East St. Louis, Illinois on suspicion of killing three prostitutes. Utah prosecutors filed an amended information providing the defendant’s name and awaited disposition of the murder charges in Illinois. Seven years later, Illinois dismissed the pending murder charges and extradited him to Utah
Younge was convicted in 2009 and later sentenced to a minimum of 15 years to life in prison. In his appeal, he claims the four-year statute of limitations had run out and prosecutors violated his constitutional right to a speedy trial.
Assistant Attorney General Jeff Gray will argue that Younge was charged within the proper time frame and the statute of limitations did not run out because he left the state after the crimes were committed. Gray will also argue that Younge’s own actions caused the delays for his trial.
Charges were also filed against Younge but later dropped for the murder of University of Utah coed Amy Quinton in 1999.
Who: Assistant Attorney General Jeff Gray
What: Oral Arguments on the appeal of State vs. Donald Younge, Jr.
When: 9:30 a.m., Tuesday, March 5, 2012
Where: Old Utah Supreme Court, Utah State Capitol, Salt Lake City