Jurors Get an Ear Full; Young had Fatal DWI Arrest and Pointed Gun at Lover’s Cop Ex-husband
SAN ANGELO, TX — You just can’t make this stuff up. Prosecutors in John Young’s trial took off the gloves in presenting evidence in the punishment phase of his trial. The jury took just over an hour Monday morning to deliver a unanimous verdict of guilty on all four counts; two counts of forgery, one of theft and one money laundering. Co-defendant Ray Zapata was previously convicted in May of forging John Sullivan's will and was ordered to pay $1.8 million in restitution and sit six months in jail.
After the guilty verdict was confirmed by each of the 12 jurors, Judge Brock Jones told the jury that this is a bifurcated trial, meaning there was the guilt or innocence phase and the punishment phase.
The punishment phase began Monday afternoon at 1:41 p.m. with prosecutor Shane Attaway’s shocking opening statement. Attaway told jurors they would hear evidence that Young ran over and killed a woman in Lubbock in 1990 and that he was arrested in Sweetwater for pointing a gun at a police officer.
Then the defense made their introduction.
Defense attorney Dan Hurley told the jury that Young’s career as an attorney is over and he won’t ever be able to support his family as he had in the past.
Hurley told jurors that Young’s behavior in the past can be blamed on his alcoholism and that he has been committed to the ideas of Alcoholics Anonymous for over six years and he has turned his life around.
Then the prosecution dropped the other shoe.
Attorneys Attaway and Jonathan White called Danny Heine to the stand. Heine was a Sweetwater police officer in 2011 and was in a troubled marriage with Debra Heine, who is now re-married and her last name is Hendrix.
Heine testified that he and his wife were having difficulties in their marriage and that John Young and Debra were having an affair which she later confirmed during her testimony.
Danny Heine told jurors that John Young pointed a gun at him on two occasions; the first was at Young’s office. Debra had hired Young to defend her in a felony theft trial for stealing money from Texas State Technical College vending machines while she was the police chief there.
Debra and Young began an affair during that time and she also became an employee at his law firm. She was eventually convicted of felony theft. Testimony revealed that Debra was cheating on Danny and Danny was cheating on Debra and they eventually divorced.
Danny and Debra’s testimony was peppered with objections from defense attorneys, some objections were sustained and others were overruled.
Debra testified that she saw a Taylor County Clerk come to Young’s office and she watched Young pay the clerk cash so he would be appointed to ‘high profile murder cases’ in Taylor county. No evidence was presented to support that claim.
Both testified to the ‘big event’ that happened in June of 2011. According to testimony, John Young went to Debra Heine’s house and was intoxicated. He made her get into his car and they drove around talking. He was upset that she was allowing her ex-husband to stay at her house for a couple of weeks until his house was available. Debra testified that Young was intoxicated and they were sitting in his car behind her house after he had driven her around speeding on a dirt road at up to 85 MPH. She told jurors she was afraid for her life.
Debra, who is now married and her last name is Hendrix, has been married five times. She testified while she and Young were parked behind her house that night, Danny Heine drove up and parked his patrol car in her driveway. She said that Heine was there to get a glass of tea. He left the house and approached Young’s car.
Debra said Young grabbed a gun from the glove compartment and confronted Heine, who was in his Sweetwater PD uniform. She gave three statements to authorities following the event. She told jurors she never saw Young point a gun at officer Heine. At some point, Young and Heine had a physical altercation and Heine pinned Young to the ground and called for backup. Young was taken to jail.
Young was eventually convicted of unlawful possession of a weapon.
Prosecutors then put on the witness stand a former Lubbock police officer who was on duty in 1990 when Young was accused of running over a female pedestrian while he was driving while intoxicated.
The dizzying accusation showed that Young had left a bar and was driving down 82nd street in Lubbock when a woman with mental issues ran in front of his car. He struck her and she died at the scene.
During this testimony, defense attorneys peppered the court with objections. At one point, defense attorney Frank Sellers moved for a mistrial because of the evidence being presented. His motion was overruled.
Testimony ended just after 5 p.m. Monday. Judge Jones told prosecutors and defense attorneys the testimony would resume Tuesday morning in a new courtroom. Courtroom A is needed for the pretrial docket so the Young trial will resume at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday morning in courtroom D on the first floor of the Tom Green County Courthouse.