Will John Young's Defense Get Texas Ranger's Testimony Thrown Out?
SAN ANGELO, TX — Defense attorneys and prosecutors in John Young’s forgery jury trial have one final opportunity to define ground rules for the high profile trial Wednesday before jury selection begins on Monday. At last week's pre-trial hearing, Young's defense attorney Daniel Hurley and prosecutor Shane Attaway from the Texas Attorney General's office engaged in open argument between themselves about the proposed jury questionaire, prompting Judge Brock Jones to admonish both of them to speak to him, not to each other.
According to court actions by the defense last week, it became apparent that Hurley will attempt to make the testimony of Texas Ranger Nick Hanna inadmissible as evidence. Hurley claimed much of Hanna's testimony in the Ray Zapata trial was based on hearsay or drew conclusions. Hanna was the lead investigator of the Young and Ray Zapata will forgery case, and much of the prosecution's case hinges on Hanna's testimony.
The 57-year-old Young is an attorney from Sweetwater. He is charged with forgery, theft and money laundering following the death of John Sullivan, a San Angelo millionaire whom Young represented.
Sullivan was charged with possession of child pornography and online solicitation of a minor prior to his death in 2014.
A handwritten will left Sullivan’s $8 million estate to his attorney, John Young. In the related trial earlier this year, San Angelo Bail Bondsman Ray Zapata was found guilty of forging the will. He was sentenced to six months in jail and five years probation. Zapata is appealing his conviction.
Zapata was also ordered to pay his portion of $1.8 million the court determined was owed to the Sullivan Estate. According to court documents, Young will be responsible for a portion of the restitution depending on the outcome of his trial.
Young’s final pretrial hearing before District Judge Brock Jones is set for 10 a.m. Wednesday morning in the Tom Green County Courthouse.