Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pasco murder case hinges on Miranda issue

Ryan Joseph Young is led out of the courtroom by Deputy Cesar Toldo after his hearing Wednesday in New Port Richey. Young is accused in the suffocation death of his mother last year. His public defender wants Young’s purported confessions suppressed.

LANCE ARAM ROTHSTEIN | Times

Ryan Joseph Young is led out of the courtroom by Deputy Cesar Toldo after his hearing Wednesday in New Port Richey. Young is accused in the suffocation death of his mother last year. His public defender wants Young’s purported confessions suppressed.

NEW PORT RICHEY — Donna Young was found dead in her bed on April 17, 2007. There was a pillow on top of the 52-year-old's face. The next day, her son, Ryan Joseph Young, returned to her home for another talk with the authorities investigating his mother's death.

That was when a detective told him the news: She died of suffocation.

The son buried his face in his hands and cried, according to court records, and this is what he said:

"I didn't mean to do it."

Then he was arrested on a charge of murder.

A year later, that arrest is in jeopardy. The state and defense dueled Wednesday over whether Ryan Young's purported confessions should be thrown out.

Those allegedly incriminating statements are the bulk of the state's case, said Assistant State Attorney Mike Halkitis.

"The issue is, was he in custody and when was he in custody?" Halkitis said after the hearing.

That's because Miranda rights — the constitutional prohibition against self-incrimination — are tied into whether a suspect is being held or arrested by police.

If a suspect volunteers incriminating information without being detained, then the statements are fair game for authorities.

But if a suspect is arrested or being held for a crime, then he must be made aware that anything he says may be used against him.

If a suspect invokes his right to remain silent, the questions must stop. Authorities must either arrest the suspect or let him go.

Courts records show Young was read his rights during his hours of talking with detectives. The question in this case is: Did they read him his rights at the right time? Or were they too late?

The answers will hinge on whether Young was considered to be in police custody during the hours he spent with detectives.

The defense said detectives detained Young inside a sheriff's car April 17 just minutes after he reported his mother's death to 911. Young was not read his Miranda rights at that time, the defense said.

Detectives didn't read Young his rights until halfway through a three-hour interview later that day at the Sheriff's Office, according to the defense.

Young's requests to go home were ignored, the defense said, and detectives sat between him and the interrogation room door.

"The defendant was physically blocked in by three detectives, subjected to repeated, loud, invasive, threatening and accusatory questions ..." Assistant Public Defender Dean Livermore wrote in his motion to suppress his client's statements.

Then when Young was questioned again before his arrest the next day, the defense said detectives again failed to read him his rights.

The state countered that the defense's motion should be denied because Young was never under arrest or being detained when he spoke to detectives April 17. He was allowed to leave after the first two interviews.

The prosecution also contends that Young was read his rights during the April 18 interview at his mother's home, when the defendant broke down crying.

More legal arguments are set for June. Veteran defense attorney Keith Hammond said the judge's decision will hinge on what he finds after reviewing hours of Young's taped statements with detectives.

"It'll come down to watching the video and listening to the audio," the lawyer said.

Multiple sclerosis left Donna Young needing a wheelchair or a walker at the time of her death. But that didn't keep her from working or working out.

Courts records show mother and son were at odds when she died. Authorities say Young broke into her house April 17, 2007, looking to steal a ring, but was surprised to find his mother home. He's accused of suffocating her with a pillow, then staging a break-in.

Ryan Young, now 25, was indicted for first-degree murder. He faces up to life in prison if convicted.

Jamal Thalji can be reached at thalji@sptimes.com or (727) 869-6236.

Pasco murder case hinges on Miranda issue 04/30/08 [Last modified: Monday, May 5, 2008 2:12pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Helicopter, small aircraft collide at Clearwater Air Park

    News

    CLEARWATER — Two people suffered minor injuries after a helicopter and a small aircraft collided late Saturday afternoon at Clearwater Air Park, 1000 N Hercules Ave.

    Clearwater Fire Department emergency personal douse a plane with fire retardant after the plane crashed into a helicopter at Clearwater Air Park 1000 N Hercules Ave. Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017. According to Clearwater Fire two people sustained minor injuries. [Photo by Clearwater Fire Department]
  2. 4-year-old girl, man injured in Clearwater Beach boating crash

    Briefs

    A 4-year-old girl was airlifted with serious injuries after a personal watercraft she was riding on collided with a boat in the Intracoastal Waterway near Clearwater Beach just before 5 p.m. Saturday afternoon.

  3. Hernando Sheriff's Office identifies bank robber killed after chase, places 7 deputies on administrative leave

    Crime

    Authorities have identified a bank robbery suspect fatally shot by Hernando County sheriff's deputies after a wild chase Friday in which the fleeing suspect rammed several patrol cars in Brooksville.

    Scott Michael Chamberlain, 44, died after a deputy-involved shooting Friday. The Hernando County Sheriff's Office said that Chamberlaine attempted to rob a bank before taking deputies on a pursuit. (Florida Department of Corrections)
  4. No. 12 FSU, defense struggle in 27-21 loss to N.C. State

    College

    TALLAHASSEE — It's easy to blame No. 12 Florida State's 27-21 loss to North Carolina State on the injury to starting quarterback Deondre Francois or the three-week layoff because of Hurricane Irma.

    It would also be wrong.

    Florida State Seminoles wide receiver Nyqwan Murray (8) carries during the first quarter of the Florida State Seminoles game against the North Carolina State Wolfpack on September 23, 2017, at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Fla.  At the half, North Carolina State Wolfpack 17, Florida State Seminoles 10.
  5. Trump tells Warriors star Stephen Curry that White House visit is off

    Nba

    SOMERSET, N.J. — Stephen Curry and President Donald Trump agree on one thing: The Golden State star is not going to the White House anytime soon.

    Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry poses for photos during NBA basketball team media day Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, in Oakland, Calif. [Associated Press]