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Insanity experts properly excluded, appeals court rules

Court-of-AppealsA man acquitted in the 2008 hit-and-run death of a Roanoke County lawyer has lost his bid to overturn a malicious wounding conviction for a separate violent incident that occurred just two days later.

The Court of Appeals of Virginia decided a trial judge did not err in keeping out testimony from two experts who concluded Jeffery Martin Young was insane at the time of the earlier incident, when lawyer Tom Farrell was struck and killed while jogging.

In 2009, Young was acquitted of manslaughter in Farrell’s death without presenting evidence as to his sanity.

In a later case, the state had argued that testimony about Young’s state of mind at the time of Farrell’s death was irrelevant to his sanity at the time of an incident, two days afterward, in which Young allegedly attacked a woman outside a Floyd County grocery store.

After hearing conflicting evidence about his state of mind, a jury rejected the insanity defense and convicted Young of malicious wounding and three other charges in the Floyd County incident.

The Court of Appeals, in an unpublished Nov. 5 opinion, said Virginia law on the question of a defendant’s sanity requires evaluation of sanity “at the time of the offense,” so Young’s two experts were properly excluded.

The court’s ruling means Young’s Floyd County convictions – and a 16-year prison sentence – are affirmed.

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