The final fact is Yonts is GUILTY!!! There is nor was any reasonable doubt! Thanks the jurors for doing their job and not being influenced by a person's status. A special thanks to the Murray State News for reporting the story in an objective, professional manner.
I cannot believe such a harsh sentence!
I can only assume and hope that Yontz will file an appeal.
i hope they hold it up to the full 20 years.
The defense in this case put on a poor showing. You can expect an appeal, but it will result in the same outcome! Mark it down.
Are you kidding me? Twenty years is a "harsh sentence?" Yonts needs a good dose of "an eye for an eye." Now THAT would be fair.
"I cannot believe such a harsh sentence!" Aside from the fact that he got the least amount of time this is allowed by law how could this even be true. He was found guilty of MURDER! He spends 20 years in prison because he killed someone. He could have recieved life. Instead the judge exercised discretion in giving him the least sentence he could. Moral is if you don't want to spend 20 years in prion, DON'T KILL SOMEONE!
As a close friend of the Yonts family and my children growing up with their children I must say I am shocked that the jury could impose such a harsh sentence. What good will it do to put such a young man in prison for 17 years? We are praying for a quick and fair appeal.Family friends in Greenville
I expect Yonts to atone for the crime obediently.
If the trial judge refuses to grant a motion for a new trial that will likely be filed by his attorney, then Yonts has a right to one appeal directly to the Kentucky Supreme Court. It may take years before the appeal is decided. By far most convictions are affirmed by the appellate courts in non capital cases. If the Kentucky Supreme Court affirms the conviction, then Yonts may file for a writ of certiorari, thereby asking the United States Supreme Court to review the case for Federal Constitutional errors. The United States Supreme Court rarely uses its discretion to hear a case like this one. End of story is that Yonts will very likely remain in a Kentucky prison until he is eligible for parole at the age of 38.
"The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll" by Bob DylanWilliam Zanzinger killed poor Hattie CarrollWith a cane that he twirled around his diamond ring fingerAt a Baltimore hotel society gath'rin'.And the cops were called in and his weapon took from himAs they rode him in custody down to the stationAnd booked William Zanzinger for first-degree murder.But you who philosophize disgrace and criticize all fears,Take the rag away from your face.Now ain't the time for your tears.William Zanzinger, who at twenty-four yearsOwns a tobacco farm of six hundred acresWith rich wealthy parents who provide and protect himAnd high office relations in the politics of Maryland,Reacted to his deed with a shrug of his shouldersAnd swear words and sneering, and his tongue it was snarling,In a matter of minutes on bail was out walking.But you who philosophize disgrace and criticize all fears,Take the rag away from your face.Now ain't the time for your tears.Hattie Carroll was a maid of the kitchen.She was fifty-one years old and gave birth to ten childrenWho carried the dishes and took out the garbageAnd never sat once at the head of the tableAnd didn't even talk to the people at the tableWho just cleaned up all the food from the tableAnd emptied the ashtrays on a whole other level,Got killed by a blow, lay slain by a caneThat sailed through the air and came down through the room,Doomed and determined to destroy all the gentle.And she never done nothing to William Zanzinger.But you who philosophize disgrace and criticize all fears,Take the rag away from your face.Now ain't the time for your tears.In the courtroom of honor, the judge pounded his gavelTo show that all's equal and that the courts are on the levelAnd that the strings in the books ain't pulled and persuadedAnd that even the nobles get properly handledOnce that the cops have chased after and caught 'emAnd that the ladder of law has no top and no bottom,Stared at the person who killed for no reasonWho just happened to be feelin' that way without warnin'.And he spoke through his cloak, most deep and distinguished,And handed out strongly, for penalty and repentance,William Zanzinger with a six-month sentence.Oh, but you who philosophize disgrace and criticize all fears,Bury the rag deep in your faceFor now's the time for your tears.Copyright © 1964
"I cannot believe such a harsh sentence!"Having lost a sister to a drunk driver I have to say that you comment disturbs me. He is guilty. Of that there is no doubt. The worst part about it is the fact that he won't admit it. What's 20 years compared to someones life?
Say what you want, but two lives were lost. The first was the lady who was tragically killed, the second is the young Yonts. He's now 21, 20 years from now he will leave prison in his 40's. Then what kind of life can he be expected to lead? What contributions to society can be expected from him?
This is a child that didn't purposely run over this woman. The jurors should have had some mercy for both sides of this case. I believe they are trying to set an example for MSU and didn't consider the punishment they put on Yontz.
Fact is he murdered a innocent human being. Yes, he's a nice guy....but he must pay for his crime. I think 20 years is not enough for this murder...and esp to not even own up to his mistake and face the truth. I have no respect for the way he has handled his own poor choice. (Facing his mistakes as a man and having sincere remorse would have helped.) To the ones who think it was too harsh......you wouldn't say that if he had killed your mother and tried to hid his quilt. The law doesn't change for who the person is. (In my opinion...I think they showed him mercy and you should be relieved.
"This is a child that didn't purposely run over this woman. The jurors should have had some mercy for both sides of this case. I believe they are trying to set an example for MSU and didn't consider the punishment they put on Yontz."Hardly a child at the age of 20 years old. Intent is decided at the point when he decided to drive DRUNK. It resulted in a death. A jury does not sentence, judge does. 20 years is the MINIMUM that can be imposed because of his crime. He'll parole after 17 years. Remember people, HE KILLED SOMEONE. "Say what you want, but two lives were lost. The first was the lady who was tragically killed, the second is the young Yonts. He's now 21, 20 years from now he will leave prison in his 40's. Then what kind of life can he be expected to lead? What contributions to society can be expected from him?"I'll agree that he lost a majority of his life, but he'll parole under 40 with on average a good thirty years of his life left. Yont's is a victim of his on crime. Our society is based upon consequences for your actions. Maybe he should have thought about what kind of life he could have led before he drove DRUNK.
its sad, i know. harrison is young and had alot going for him im sure. BUT, he committed a crime. he was drunk and hit the poor lady=accident. Could have happened to alot of us. leaving the scene of an accident and tampering with evidence..deliberate!
I still can't believe that they found him guilty of murder. Im hoping for a quick appeal and hopefully he will be out. yes, i feel horrible for the victims family. it is unspeakable. I also feel for the Yonts family. they have to send their son to prison. also, the fact that "he won't admit it" HE DIDN'T DO IT. by the way- the defense had 20 witnesses to call and other things to say but the judge wouldn't allow them. don't put down the defense for things out of their hand. they were prepared but didn't have the chance.
20 years would be a harsh sentence to someone who admitted his guilt but not for Yonts. He should have confessed and asked for leniency due to his age and intoxicated status. If he had he probably wouldn't have gone to jail for very long if at all. He was an idiot for not trying to help that poor woman after hitting her and an idiot for not owning up to what he had done after he was caught red handed.It's hard forgive someone who doesn't own up and ask for forgiveness.
Everyone is quick to say what a horrible person Yonts is, but how many of us, home many of our friends, has atleast once driven when we shouldn't? This tragedy could have happened to THOUSANDS of students at Murray. We can all say that we would stop and help the woman, but we have never been in that situation, so who is to say what we would have done. People panic, and people don't always think rationally. He does deserve to be punished, but don't attack the kid for something many of us have done, driven home when we shouldn't have.
There should be no mercy! I think he got off lightly. You act as if we should feel sorry for HIM?!? HE got drunk, HE drove the car, and HE took an innocent life. He deserves to spend the remainder of his days rotting in a jail cell thinking of the pain and suffering he has caused. Perhaps if he had any sense of values or moral standards instilled in him when he was younger we might not be in this mess in the first place. This is nothing more than a spoiled rich kid getting exactly what he deserves, nothing more, nothing less.
"What contributions to society can be expected from him?"I am sure he will be a very productive member of society while in prison… They still make license plates, right?
I can't believe that anyone can look at themselves in the mirror and say that this sentence was correct. A St. Louis Ram football player did the exact same crime and served 90 days. The streets are no safer with Harrison in jail the crime was an accident and and if you truly believe that he commited murder that you may also believe that everyone arrested for a DUI should be out away for attempted mureder, because they could have murdered someone. This is a situation where the prosecution was looking to make a name for themselves and to prove that they can not be influenced be stature and money. If this would have been a normal everyday poor student they would have never even went for a murder conviction. It would have been manslaughter 10 years serve like 3 and would have a chance to have a real life and move on from this. For those who say if it was your mom you would feel different, I ask you if it was you on the stand would you feel that 20 years is fair for an accident. I feel sorry for the family and the kid involved and I don't see how the prosecuter or jury members will be able to sleep at night with the verdict, I am in no way saying that he shoud have walked, but I promise that the same lesson learned in 20 years in PRISON can be learned in 3. Do you truly believe that with either being served that the mistake would be made again?
I can't believe that there are people out there who think he is innocent. Open you eyes!And to that idiot who sympathizes with Yonts because he and I guess many of his friends have also driven drunk. Please let this be a lesson to you to not do it again. Cuz if you do someone might steal your car once you have successfully made it home and passed out, then kill some one and frame you for it.It could happen!
Its amazing that one would say that he is a spoiled rich kid. Do you know him? Do you know that? Most of us have driven when we shouldnt. Most of us have given our car over to a friend to borrow.
Im appalled at the things Im reading. I have been on both sides (in this case Harrison's- another time having someone close to me murdered). There isnt just one victim here. For those of you who are saying that he is covering his guilt, have the right to your own opinion. But get the facts straight. If the prosecution is unable to prove that he was behind the wheel, where do you get off by saying he was behind the wheel? I look at this from both sides. I pray and grieve right along side both families for different reasons. One family is needing closer to move on. They got it with this verdict. The other is trying to imagine how they can take a step forward. I just pray that the truth comes out eventually and that both families can have closer. I know deep in my heart that this is not the truth and that whoever is hiding the truth is doing something worse....they are ending the life of two people and slowly chipping away at others. I hope this is a lesson to everyone.
Only God knows the real truth; man has an opinion. There are no lessons that can be learned since the example law makers over the U.S. set; they still get caught driving under the influence. You would think after the fiery crash on I-75 in the 1990s that at least the law makers would get it. Obviously not. It starts at the top and filters down. The lesson should be to law makers; make the sell of alcohol illegal!
"This is a child that didn't purposely run over this woman. The jurors should have had some mercy for both sides of this case. I believe they are trying to set an example for MSU and didn't consider the punishment they put on Yontz."I absolutely agree you. Don't get me wrong, he should have been punished. However, he should not have been charged with murder. Yonts did not get in his car that night to intentionally kill someone. Also, it sickens me how many people bring up his status and money his family has, considering obviously this had nothing to do with the case.
"Everyone is quick to say what a horrible person Yonts is, but how many of us, home many of our friends, has atleast once driven when we shouldn't? This tragedy could have happened to THOUSANDS of students at Murray. We can all say that we would stop and help the woman, but we have never been in that situation, so who is to say what we would have done. People panic, and people don't always think rationally. He does deserve to be punished, but don't attack the kid for something many of us have done, driven home when we shouldn't have."First off in response to this, yes many people do drive when they shouldn't and i, personally, have had friends who have driven when they should not have. However, if the roles were reversed and it was one of my friends who were in yonts' shoes today, i would feel no different. If a person gets in a vehicle and drives when maybe they've had too much to drink, they should assume all risks and be prepared for all consequences no matter who they may be or what position in society they may hold. When a person drinks and gets behind the wheel, it would be fine if they were only putting their own life at risk but they are not only putting their life at risk, they are putting mine and yours at risk as well. I feel no remorse for anyone in a situation such as this that decides to drink and drive. For an instance, I'll extend to Yonts the benefit of doubt. I'll even say yes, that could have happened to most anybody. Yonts may have been completely drunk when he first hit the woman but that alone, you would think, would be enough to sober a person up enough to realize what had happened and to respond accordingly. Drunkeness is no excuse. In response to the accusation that people panic and don't always act rationally, yes thats true. However he made the decsion to act irrationally and when he did he not only cost himself his life, but anothers as well.
I'm curious. How many Lambdas are out there without their own car? It has to be a very small number. Or a better question, of his brothers, who would take the car without asking first. This seems like an easy case to solve to me. The only way "the truth will come out" is if he starts telling the truth.
"I ask you to have mercy on my son, if I could take my son's place judge, I'll be glad to go." I didn't hear all of Rep. Yonts' appeal, but this struck me as telling. Perhaps if parents could teach their children to be responsible for their OWN actions there would be fewer problems in this world.Nothing irks me more than hearing the tag-line at the end of liquor commercials: Drink responsibly. That is an oxymoron. If you have been taught to be a responsible person, you do not drink and drive; and anyone with sense knows, the moment alcohol hits a person's system, you have already begun to lose any chance of MAKING a responsible decision, such as using a designated driver. Law-makers, lawyers and judges have passed the decisions of guilt in DUI cases to juries, which they claim: hand out lenient sentences due to the jurors' philosophy of, "There but for the Grace of God, go I." So did this jury "make an example" of this young man or did they decide if they had been in his position, they would have at least stopped to check on the person they hit, rather than while splattered with blood--try to hide the damage to the car. [And that to me is telling as well, if you accidently hit a mailbox, why hide it--fess up the next morning and replace the mailbox. If you hit an animal, that would not be considered against the law and there would not be any reason to hide the damage. So does this mean that by "hiding" the damage, he knew he had hit a person and yet still left them to die in a ditch?]I have read previous blogs and seen Yonts referred to as a "child." There are two terms for someone who has reached their full height: an adult or a grown-up. Some people can be in their 50s and still have the selfish viewpoint of a kid, who wants what he wants and doesn't care of anyone feelings but his own. And sadly, some children lose their parents to drunk drivers and are forced to become responsible adults and surrogate parents to their younger siblings.So beyond the fact that Yonts was UNDERAGE and should never have been drinking in the first place; there is the glaring example of others being driven safely home and his blatant and arrogant disregard for this offered service. The choices he made, before and after Mrs. Shaheen's death, determined his sentence--not his wealth, not his childhood, but his ACTIONS. That is what a trial is all about.I'll get off my soapbox now and lay claim to all I've said.Sincerely,S.J. AdamsP.S. The quote is off the WPSDTV.com website.
The person driving the car needs to step forward.. Harrison is not guilty of murder. There is no proof He was driving the car or in the car at the time of the accident. Harrison is a wonderful kid. Why take his life away.
AMEN to the person who wrote this: "I absolutely agree you. Don't get me wrong, he should have been punished. However, he should not have been charged with murder. Yonts did not get in his car that night to intentionally kill someone. Also, it sickens me how many people bring up his status and money his family has, considering obviously this had nothing to do with the case."
We all feel sorry for Harrison, He is a great kid.
Harrison is not Guilty. The jurors have taken a life from a child, how is this fair to Harrison, his family and Friends.How many of the jurors do you think have been drinking and got behind the wheel at one time or the other.. How soon we forget...
I believe that twenty years is the perfect amount of time for harrison to think about what he did. he needs to sit behind bars and think everyday about all the hell he has caused a family.
"The final fact is Yonts is GUILTY!!! There is nor was any reasonable doubt! Thanks the jurors for doing their job and not being influenced by a person's status."Influenced by a person's status?? What on earth are you talking about? His status didn't have anything to do with this. If nothing else, his status DID influence the jury to make an example out of him.No reasonable doubt? I hate it when people make irrational comments regarding subjects they truly dont know the entire facts about. Please be aware of what you are talking about before making comments.
This is rediculous! You people are letting your personal feelings for this guy cloud your moral judgement. He is GUILTY! Plain and simple. He is NOT a victim by any means. I simply cannot believe that you people are justifying his actions like this. There are many people who DO NOT drink and drive. We have cab services that will drive you home if you've had one too many to drink... The punishment in this case definitely fits the crime. Although personally I would've liked to have seen the word LIFE used in the sentence. You can sit here and speak of his character all you want but the bottom line is he chose to drink and drive and he chose not to help that poor woman. He disgusts me and I hope every second he spends in jail causes him as much pain and suffering as he has caused that innocent woman and her family!
"This is a situation where the prosecution was looking to make a name for themselves and to prove that they can not be influenced be stature and money. If this would have been a normal everyday poor student they would have never even went for a murder conviction."IF this was a normal everyday poor student, the trial wouldn't have been delayed nearly two years, and the CONVICTED KILLER would be behind bars for LIFE and not serving this joke of a sentence. This is how the legal system is supposed to work! Football players, rich kids, politicians, NOBODY deserves a free pass on murder. But I suppose you think what the football player got was absolutely fair.
To Kent:who said anything about driving drunk? have you never drove after having a beer or two?and yes i believe he is innocent. innocent till proven guilty. there was no evidence to prove to me that he was behind the wheel.
Don't turn this into someone wanting alcohol to be banished. ridiculious.
"I'm curious. How many Lambdas are out there without their own car? It has to be a very small number. Or a better question, of his brothers, who would take the car without asking first. This seems like an easy case to solve to me."response:Have you never been somewhere where your car wasn't? YOu drive EVERY where? You have never driven your parent's/child's/friend's vehicle before? Weird. You need to learn the law, and use your brain. If your reason to convict someone of murder is because Yonts' friends all have cars...you are an idiot.
Attention ALL Murray Students!Be smart. Learn from this. It's a tragedy for everyone involved. If you drink -DON'T drive. If you make a mistake, face it. Most people are forgiving when forgiveness is sought.
It was obvious after Yonts sentence was read that the jurors had no heart. There is no evidence to prove that he was behind the wheel at the time of the crash. I believe that Murray State is too quick to judge. Unless you have been in this same exact situation you have no idea how you would react.
He hasn't even been sentenced. The sentencing hearing isn't even until April. The judge might even give him more than 20 years, none of us know. I'm sure that Harrison is a nice guy. It's not like we think he's a cold-blooded murderer. I have friends who are dear friends of his, but as for me... The last meal I ate before November 11, 2005 was cooked by NaNa Shaheen. I love her and miss her dearly. To think that I'll never get to feel the warmth of one of her hugs again saddens me. Harrison will get to feel the warmth of another human being... someday...
I had a friend who said she fought Yonts for his keys.Nadia "NaNa" Shaheen was also a very dear friend of mine. I KNOW that Yonts was drunk and I'm not sorry that he's going to have to serve time for his crime, but none of that compares with the fact that he killed a woman who was like a grandmother to me. You may deny it, but because of him I will never get to feel another warm, tender hug from NaNa again...
To the ATTN: Murray Students???? I am still a strong believe this this kid was tried wrong...he was tried a rich, spoiled, my daddy has everything and we will teach these Murray kids a lesson rather than look at Yonts as the person he really is. I wonder if the Judge realizes how long he sentenced him for because I question the entire trial.
1. He was drinking at a pub.2. He then went to a party and continued to drink.3. He chose to drive.He may be a good person, BUT...He made a choice that has altered his life, the life of the woman he hit and the lives of all people connected to him and to her. Instead of making up excuses and proposterous stories he should be man enough to stand up and say that he accepts responsibility, ask for forgiveness and show some remorse. It was an accident, but he made the mistake of making a wrong choice.
First let me say thank you for writing an excellent blog. It has been very beneficial for so many that don't live in Murray to be able to keep track of what has been happening. Now I feel I must comment on the guilty verdict and the sentence, it doesn't sound like they found the boy guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If he says he wasn't driving he must believe he wasn't. His Father is an attorney, he surely knows all the tricks on how to get someone off on a technicality. He pled the way he did because he believes it as the truth. It doesn't sound like he was trying to cover anything up. I'm not condoning his drinking, I think it's terrible that any 20 year old (which is what he was at the time) could be allowed to have so much to drink--anywhere--that he wouldn't know how he got home. Do the people at the fraternity party not have to bear some resonsibility in this case as well? Does the college bear some as well since it is so well known that the parties are occuring where under-age people are being served alcohol. Yes, he was old enough to know not to drink. I'm sure his parents told him not to drink. As college students it is almost expected that you drink to socialize. That's another problem. Okay, lets say he didn't do it. Someone did. Someone probably thought that since he was an elected officials kid, he'd be treated better and would fair better. That someone has to come forward now. Having said his Dad was an elected official is the biggest key in this verdict. I think the jury went so far out of their way to prevent anyone thinking he was being given special treatment that they went the other way and treated him unfairly. It wasn't proven in that courtroom, there was doubt. Two families lives are destroyed. My heart and prayers go out to both. Neither will ever be the same.
If Yonts remembers going inside his apartment and getting a beer and then chatting with the person who took his car, he remembers who it was! You don't let a total stranger borrow your car, especially one you worked for! Glass would not be in his hat if he wasn't in the car! Who is to say his family had lots of money or he was spoiled? They did have 3 kids who went to college. Those kids always had jobs and didn't have things handed over to them on a silver platter! That is beside the point, he is guilty and he is paying for it!
Too bad he wasn't man enough to admit to what he did. He has no one to blame for the outcome than himself. Playing the "victim" card when he killed another person, while drunk, is disgusting. And what this must be doing to his parents and rest of his family...what a disgrace he is.
"Having said his Dad was an elected official is the biggest key in this verdict. I think the jury went so far out of their way to prevent anyone thinking he was being given special treatment that they went the other way and treated him unfairly. It wasn't proven in that courtroom, there was doubt."I agree I believe that everyone is thinking that this helped him, this was a burden and I believe that he would have never gotten murder but mearly manslaughter if he had not been whom he is
I find it unbelievable that 12 jurors who were reasonable, focused on their civic duty and committed to giving a peer a fair trial (or at least it is suppose to be a jury of one's peers)could return a verdict in 3 hours. I am a highly educated adult and I spent more hours than that reading the events as posted on this blog and other sites, trying to understand the facts. I found it irresponsible that the jury would not had taken time to review every aspect of the trial presented to them over the 3 days before handing down the most harsh sentence. There is no way they did this in a 3 hour time period. My only conclusion is the jury had already predetermined their verdict before the trial and use the trial to support their belief. What a horrible misuse of our judicial system? How each of these individuals can respect them selves each day knowing they made a decision which will impact a person's life for 20 years in such a short time period. What reasonable reponsible person would do that?
I do wish people would use some intellect when discussing this tragic situation. Harrison knows that he was too drunk to drive (no one is denying that he was drunk). There is no evedience saying that he was WITHOUT A DOUBT behind the wheel. I believe him. He said he was innocent from the start and he swears that is the truth. Why would anyone risk being put away for life then go for a lesser sentence by way of a plea bargin. And please don't say "because he thought he would get off for who he is". He and his family certainly knew that status (what slim status it was) would get him no where. THis was a horrific thing do happen. I don't see how anyone can sit and let someone else take the blame for it. I cannot believe that people will not see what sloppy detective work that the police did and how they did not follow any other leads. They wanted to "get a guy" and pin him down without looking into it anymore. They are a disgrace.I also am sad for the Shaheen family. It is terrible that they are having to go through with this. I cannot even come close to imagining what they are going through. Im sure they are ready to close this book, but I dont think sending a boy who plead's his innocence to jail for most of his life. and yes, its most of his life. the 17+ yrs that he will serve is the time when most are finding a career and starting a family.
This is ignorant. How can he not remember who was driving the car? Hes just saying that. He had blood on his clothes and in his house. That says something doesnt it.
To those who keep saying a life was taken from a child. Harrison Yonts is not a child. He was 20 years old when he committed this crime.For one, he was drinking underage, decided to get into a car and drive while drunk, hit a woman and left her to die. While I don't believe he meant to get into that car that night to purposly kill someone, the fact is that he did and he should be punished the same as any other person who would have committed the same crime.Also, he was given the minimum sentence. It is better than life because at least he will be able to have a life of some sort after he is released. Do I think he should serve the full sentence? Yes. This is only because he took a human life. He killed someone and left her to die.
Don't attack the jurors, they aren't the ones to blame here. They were just the "lucky" ones who had their number drawn that week.
Fact is he murdered a innocent human being. Yes, he's a nice guy....but he must pay for his crime. I think 20 years is not enough for this murder...and esp to not even own up to his mistake and face the truth. I have no respect for the way he has handled his own poor choice. (Facing his mistakes as a man and having sincere remorse would have helped.)To the ones who think it was too harsh......you wouldn't say that if he had killed your mother and tried to hid his quilt. The law doesn't change for who the person is. (In my opinion...I think they showed him mercy and you should be relieved.AMEN! Oh, and to the idiot bloggers who say they drink and drive (like that justifys the crime because everyone does it ~ duh)WAKE UP. Grow up....there are reasons that it is against the law to drink ANY alcohol when you are under the age of 21. TWENTY-ONE. That's banking on you hopefully being mature enough to make adult decisions that won't kill innocent people!Come on. Unbelievable.
I hope this goes to the Supreme Court so that Yonts can get a fair trial. I feel that Yonts' conviction was too hard. I think he deserves a smaller punishment, I am not saying NO punishment, just not wanton murder and I feel that by appealing this and putting it in the hands of a different jury (who have NOTHING to do with any of this). I don't think its fair that Shaheen's family can plea and explain their feelings but Yonts' family couldn't, we need to think of both sides, SERIOUSLY, not just her side of the family, they both have family.This is this worst position anybody could be in and I wouldn't wish it on anybody nor would I I want to charge him with wanton murder, come on you can't tell tell me that you would feel good about putting someone away for that long....who wouldn't ask for mercy for their own son? My thoughts and prays to both families.
I have known the Yonts family my entire life. They are not as they have been portrayed--a rich family with spoiled children. The Yonts family is an example of a hard-working family who aspires for their children to have more than the generation before them. However, because of this portrayal and the fact that Brent is an elected official, Harrison Yonts was held to a higher standard than any other who might have been tried for this same crime. Regardless, the outcome in this situation is tragic: two families have been destroyed. The Shaheens have lost their mother and the Yonts have lost their son for the greater part of the remainder of their lives. My prayers are for both families and for those who cannot find compassion for fellow human beings.
I am surprised by the murder conviction. IF he were found guilty, I would have anticipated a lesser charge. Like another blogger, I sickened by some of the comments here and the repeated emphasis on "who" Harrison Yonts is and his "status". I would ask the question, "Do you know WHO Harrison Yonts is?"; if you don't, perhaps biased judgments should be reserved. I am hopeful for a just appeal in this case because serving 17 years seems like a very unjust punishment.
Brent and Jan Yonts are wonderful people with a wonderful family. Whether or not Harrison is guilty of anything should not be based on who is parents are and what they do for a living. You will not find better people anywhere, any place, any time! Brent has done wonderful things for not only the Greenville community, Muhlenberg County, but the entire state of Kentucky. Jan has been a phenomonal teacher and counselor for many years. They brought their children up in church and taught them many values and morals. No parent can be in total control of what their children do or don't do at all times. We are blessed to have their family in our community and we embrace them during this time. My desire is this, and this only, pray for both families, stop trashing everybody - the jury, Harrison, his family. It's time we all pray for something positive to come from this. Pray for the victim's family to find comfort and at some point, forgiveness. If he's innocent, pray that will be found out. If not, pray for strength for both he and his family with what they have facing them. I'm not certain that 20 years behind bars will do anything except destroy his family, which had no control over the situation to begin with. I am certainly no safer with him in prison that I would be if he were on the streets. The accident was just that, an accident. Yes, he shouldn't have been drinking and driving, but he's not a criminal. He didn't go anywhere with the intent to hurt anyone. I believe with all my heart that the entire legal system chose to prove that just because you're related to an elected official won't get you out of something. Looks like they made their point, but did it help anyone? Clearly, nobody won in this case. May God touch all of the hearts affected by this tragic situation and give each of them comfort in the coming days and years.
If I had to choose between having a family member in prison -where I can still see them, talk to them, write to them, hear their voice- or having a family member dead... well there's no choice, is there? Witnesses DID in fact, place Yonts behind the wheel of that car. I find it very curious that of all the people who saw him leave the party, and even attempted to stop him, not one person claimed to have seen the mystery driver. Also curious, the polo shirt on the toilet seat in the police video... let me understand this, Harrison is so drunk that he has no clue who drove him home but the defense wants me to believe he was sober enough to attempt to "stain treat" his shirt? I mean give me a break. I agree his sentence was longer than what the average drunk driver who takes a life would receive. Why? Because he left her to die. Repeat after me. HE LEFT HER TO DIE. And it doesn't take me hours and hours and hours to comprehend that. I don't claim to be "overly, incredibly, unbelievably educated" or whatever dumb claim someone made on here earlier, but I can see a load of bull^&^* when someone's shoveling it. Was he freaked out? Completely panicked? Well yeah! Who wouldn't be? But an anonymous phone call to 911 probably would have left the jurors feeling like he wasn't just a cold, malicious murderer. Maybe that one act alone would have left them saying it was an accident and he did at least make some attempt, no matter how pathetic. One thing you forget about jurors... They're impartial. Meaning they don't play golf with his dad, or go to Sunday School with his mom, or drink themselves comatose with Harrison on Saturday nights. They don't know the Yonts family at all. They are able to clearly see the facts, without bias. They were adults. They didn't send a "poor, innocent child" to prison, because they're jealous of his family. GIVE ME A BREAK! They came to court. They listened, they saw, and they decided and the last time I checked, that's the job they were given. Maybe instead of spending so much time and effort trying to plead the unfairness of it all, you need to all offer up some prayers of thanks that Harrison is alive. He could have just as easily killed himself that night, but thank God he didn't and thank God that every holiday and birthday he spends holed up in his cell, he's just a phone call away and not a lifetime. Use some common sense.
"Do you know WHO Harrison Yonts is?"; if you don't, perhaps biased judgments should be reserved. I am hopeful for a just appeal in this case because serving 17 years seems like a very unjust punishment.""Its amazing that one would say that he is a spoiled rich kid. Do you know him? Do you know that?"No to all of the above. However, what I DO know is that he's a drunk driver that killed a woman and will not take responsibility for his actions. I'm glad the court is making him since he obviously won't. As for the prison time being unjust, are you serious? He still has his life, which is more than can be said for his victim.
For the post about" I have known the Yonts family my entire life" I moved to Greenville about 1986 and live here today about 7 years ago my son who is now 25 years old was a 16 year old student at the high school school where Harrison's mother is the guidance counslor. My son had than and still battles with alcoholism. He got in trouble at school and went to Jan Yonts. She called me and was one of the most kind, understanding and compassionate human being to our family. Our son ended up going to rehab and even having to leave the home for a brief time because he would not quit drinking and obey our rules and adhere to work a 12 step program towards recovery, while I would talk to our son almost daily I would call the school and Jan would always give me an update on how our son was doing with his grades, she was seeing him weekly and helping move him towards graduating. She kept me posted and really was a great support person to us. She never passed judgement on me or my husband, she went above and beyond her duty and she cared about him. My prayer is that same grace, car, love and support will be extended back to Harrison and the Yonts and Shaheen families. I really have no opinion about the trial and I am not a "let him rot in prison" type of person. But I will say this: Having volunteered inside a state prison for the last 3 years I DO NOT think it is where Harrison needs to go. Putting him with "hit men" and rapist and people who murdered with intent is not the answer.
Let me first say how sorry I am for BOTH families. Having had a child who had to serve time for a mistake made by very poor judgement, I know the pain the Yonts family is feeling. But, having lost my parents very young in my life, I also know the void left in the victims families lives, too. But as far is Harrison is concerned, having had a father who is a lawyer, I'm sure he had been taught never "to tell the truth before talking to a lawyer". [Unlike my child who DIDN"T know any better and because there had never been any previous trouble with the law AND had always been taught as a child that you get in less trouble by telling the truth than by lying.] I know this because Mr.Yonts father was my child's lawyer and he was quick to tell my child how dumb it was to tell the truth. 'YOU SHOULD HAVE KNOW BETTER' said the lawyer. From then on we had very poor representation from the lawyer. [I guess he figured we all had degrees in law.] I am very sorry for Harrison for whatever time he has to serve. I know the loss of life can NEVER be replaced but the young man's youth neither will be replaced. I wish there was a better way to fulfill the requirements of the law concerning this matter because I do not want this young man to spend the rest of his life in jail. I only wish IF he is truly guilty, he had stayed with the lady and sought help for her. The outcome for both could have been completely different. My prayers are for everyone concerned.
It appears to me that the only people who believe Yonts didn't do it are his friends and family. Obviously twelve members of his peer group found him guilty and from the postings, it seems that many (including myself) agree with them.Of COURSE people who know him and his family are going to take his side. But if they would get a clue, take an unbiased look at the facts and realize what a selfish person he truly is for continuing to lie, maybe their opinions would mirror the jury's as well. He deserves life. No questions asked.
To think that Yonts was NOT driving the car is idiocy at its finest. The guy was COVERED in blood and glass. and who else could be driving the car? he could remember all these details about after he got home except WHO was driving the car? please. He deserves his sentence.
I am from Muhlenberg County (where Harrison grew up). I do NOT know Harrison personally but I can say without a doubt that this thing sickens me~ as the 'rich, spoiled and wealthy part is OBVIOUSLY NOT true.' His mom works hard in a public school. They are not spoiled...just hard working moral people. What if????...What if he blacked out and REALLY doesn't remember it? SERIOUSLY....I know of people 'back in college' who drank / blacked out and remembered nothing. There are people who have later found out they DROVE in SUCH A STATE! It IS POSSIBLE!It's a horrible situation (FOR EVERYONE).It has made me sick to my stomach all day today as I cannot imagine something like this bringing a person 20 years. 10 maybe. I have child molesters living less than a mile away from me that served 2-3 years! I know of another 'person' that should have graduated with me who went to prison for a very similar incident (he got 7 years /served 4) We have a problem with our judicial system. If he PLANNED to EXECUTE this woman I would say life! But a sickening accident as such = 20 years. MERCY MERCY....I could not live with myself as a juror; it hurts me as a person without any involvement. I could honestly throw up over such a tragedy unfolding.This is a PERFECT example of who your father is going against a person. I hope the Yonts family files an appeal and anyone who is a solid Christianwould want MERCY for such a soul/ a soul with little to no hope at his age. God Bless the family that lost their mother. God Bless the families that grieve. I will pray for justice through the hands of the lord himself. May he lessen the burden for the young Yonts and bring him some salvation in whatever way he can. May God have mercy on all our souls in this forum...... Pity, mercy, forgiveness.....I am so sick. This is disgusting
For everyone saying that his punishment was too long... it was the minimum sentence, what more do you wantThe fact of the matter is that this young man committed a crime, and instead of standing up for his wrong-doings, like a man doesn, he decided not to.If he would have been a man about it at any time, he would have at least had my respect. This would have included: calling the cops after hitting the lady... calling the cops in the morning... admitting to doing it... apologizing for doing it.But he didn't... he didn't do any of these. And because of this, I do not respect this boy. I hope prison teaches him how to be a man.
....as I stated earlier"What if"...
I think he got what he deserved. I know many people in the Greenville area. I have heard that this "accident" didn't stop him. He was seen by several driving around Greenville recklessly. Obviously thinking he would serve no time. Harsh sentance???...HE LEFT HER THERE TO DIE!
"What if????...What if he blacked out and REALLY doesn't remember it? SERIOUSLY....I know of people 'back in college' who drank / blacked out and remembered nothing. There are people who have later found out they DROVE in SUCH A STATE! It IS POSSIBLE!"Just because he doesn't remember running over a person and leaving them for dead does not mean he didn't do it.
The 'similar' incident that was discussed in earlier post was that VERY SIMILAR. Exception being that man REMEMBERED what he did. He hit a man in our area. He then left the man to die by hiding in the woods and trying to get his blood alcohol level down. He did not call 911 for the man.He tamped with evidence by trying to remove his liscence plate.SIMILAR INCIDENT...ONE EXCEPTION...."he knew he did it" and this man got 7 years. Horrible situation. HORRIBLE.
First let me say I have been reading some of the comments here and it amazes me how judgmental a lot of people are. There is a lot to be said for forgiveness. I know a lot about this family. I also know a lot about suffering and loss. I have lost a mother, father and a daughter. Taking this young man's life will not bring any closure to the family of the lady who was killed. The only closure they will have is to forgive and leave it with God. Then they can begin to heal. But what about the Yonts family? They will have pain and suffering that will last a lifetime. Who are we to judge if he is guilty? Yes, the jury said so. Three hours is a very short time to conclude and basically end a young man's life. If indeed he is guilty, he did not premeditate a murder. Murderers have gotten off with a shorter time than this. What did he do if he is guilty? He made a mistake many people do. Yes, he was drinking. Have you ever driven eating a hamburger, french fries or turning the knob on your radio? Yes?! Of course it is not alcohol but it is not following the rules of the road either. All of us are guilty as charged with breaking the rules. We have all failed at something in our lives. Do we justify that with taking another life? What about forgiveness? Yes, if he is guilty he should pay society a penalty. But 20 years? Yes, they have lost a mother. As I said I have lost a mother and father. I have lost a child. There is nothing worse in life than to outlive your child. It took many years of prayer for forgiveness. But that is when I got my life back. What about mercy? Her life cannot be brought back. His life can still be rescued. His family worked hard to get where they are. They were not born into money. They worked and earned it the hard way. So why is that offensive to some people? Because they don't know this family. You say an "eye for an eye"? Go read Genesis. God did not even give Cain the death penalty for intentionally killing his own brother. I hope this child (yes, he really is still a child) can be given some mercy along the way. Prison has never made anyone a better person. This is the worst that can happen to him....I pray for his family and for hers too....Forgiveness goes a long way......Greenville resident
People keep casting their aspursions upon the jury. They think that they were trying to make an example of Yonts when in fact this had nothing to do with it. When the jury was to decide what the crime would be (i.e. Wanton murder, manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter, etc.) the judge only gave them the description of the crime, not the punishment portion. The jurors had no idea how long he would serve until they convicted him. Once the jury was given, then the judge gave the jury the terms of that particular verdict. And if you search for about five minutes on the internet you'll find that there are many, MANY cases where drunk drivers who killed someone are getting the same exact sentence, maybe more.
"I think he got what he deserved. I know many people in the Greenville area. I have heard that this "accident" didn't stop him. He was seen by several driving around Greenville recklessly. Obviously thinking he would serve no time."You have "heard." This is exactly the type of thing that does not need to be repeated. I believe this case was decided in the media long before it ever got to trial. Gossip and speculation are the evil that have surrounded this case from day one. I think it is proper to state facts and stop repeating what you "hear."
I believe this case was decided in the media long before it ever got to trial. Gossip and speculation are the evil that have surrounded this case from day one. I think it is proper to state facts and stop repeating what you "hear."I'm not sure what media you saw, but the local media around here didn't do much with it until the verdict. The Murray Ledger had basic articles totalling like three, the Paducah Sun had minimal coverage. People are really wanting to chalk this conviction up to things other than guilt. This case was barely even a blip on the media radar as far as stories go. Is it possible that he is guilty, and spent the whole time lying to keep from getting in to trouble. There's a lot of talk about how he's a good kid, but even good kids lie. Especially when faced with dire consequences. I think I remember reading somewhere that the majority of the jury was women. I'm sure most of those women were mothers. Do you think that a mother would unjustly convict someone they could see as a son? I'm not so sure. I feel entirely comfortable with this verdict. The defense made a terrible arguement of this case. If someone else was driving why were there only one, 1, fingerprint in the car that didn't match Yonts. Did they have the presence of mind to wipe the car down? Maybe you can buy in to this conspiracy theory, but logic and reason gets in the way of that.
"This is a child that didn't purposely run over this woman. The jurors should have had some mercy for both sides of this case. I believe they are trying to set an example for MSU and didn't consider the punishment they put on Yontz."Let's break that down:a child: One that had too much to drink and got behind the wheel of his vehicle.didn't purposely run over this woman:True. But he purposely left her there. Who knows what would have happened had he done the right thing? Let's not forget, she died hours later. Her life might have been spared, and all it would have cost him was his right to drive for a few years and a bit of probation. Instead, he let her (and her family) pay for his mistakes with her life.The jurors should have some mercy: They did. Suggested the MINIMUM sentence.they are trying to set an example for MSU: So, instead we should just let him go free after killing someone, and set the example that it doesn't matter what you do, if you've got the right connections you can get away with murder?didn't consider the punishment they put on Yontz: Just like he didn't consider Ms. Shaheen's life when he went to sleep that night. They DID consider the punishment. Once again, by giving him the MINIMUM sentence.I know Mr. Yontz is a friend to some of those giving their opinions on this matter, and I am truly sorry his family and friends. I know it must be difficult to see him go. However, the Shaheen family lost their backbone, their support, their mother. I do not take joy in the fact that he will go to prison. I find relief in the fact that justice was served, and the victims can find peace. The act of running down Ms. Shaheen may not have been intentional, but Harrison Yontz is in NO WAY a victim.
I also believe that Harrison Yonts is a guilty man but despite all the damning evidence against him I keep asking myself...What if he really wasn't driving that car? What if he is telling the truth? I guess I am playing devil's advocate and although I am 90% convinced...that 10% of doubt keeps nagging me.
This accident could have happened to anyone of us driving down that road that night,drinking or no drinking. The victim (God Bless her) was walking the wrong way on a narrow road, dark clothes on, 2:15 a.m. in November, plus she was ACTUALLY on the road. Thats no excuse for leaving her there but MURDER. Come on. If the person who did this wanted to cover this up all they had to do was pick up the rear view mirror and head out of town. This is just a tradegy, not murder. The person who did this had no idea they hit someone.
For someonw who knows the family and not Harrison I put this out for thought. Instead of our taxes (approx $20,000 yearly) being used to keep Harrison behind bars, let's try another route. Why not make Harrison speak to public and private university groups about the tragedy for the next 15 years and not get paid a dime. Drunk driving is dangerous and can ruin your life. Let him get that point across to kids and report to his parole officer or court on a monthly basis. Let his family support him, but he is to speak to students on college campuses around the US on his own money. My family has been involved in tragic accidents, no drunk driving involved, so I do have some experience with the anger some of you feel.
That St. Louis Rams player someone mentioned earlier? His name is Leonard Little, and he owned up to it. He plead GUILTY to involuntary manslaughter. He didn't go home and try to clean the blood off of his shirt and pretend everything is okay. Yonts is only a victim of his own stupid mistakes.
And what is with people saying there was no proof that he was driving that makes him guilty in their eyes? Were you all sitting there with you fingers in your ears going "la la la" while the witness testified that she SAW HIM IN THE DRIVERS SEAT JUST A FEW FEET FROM WHERE THE ACCIDENT TOOK PLACE?
Maybe most of you posters should learn how to spell his name its YONTS not YONTZ and she did not die hours later they said she died with in minutes. Why don't you get your lies straight befor you post
Ok, well all I know is that I hope and pray that if someone I care about is ever in a situation where they are drinking and driving and happen to mow someone down in the process and then lie about it, may their jury be filled with the Yonts supporters on this page. They are truly the most forgiving people I have ever had the pleasure of coming across. I truly wonder though, what if the situation was reversed and we were reading about poor Harrison Yonts who was mowed down by a drunk, foreign exchange student. A person who's only defense was, "I wasn't driving, even though witnesses saw me and not one single person has come forward to say who the real driver was, and yes, I can wander around the neighborhood chatting with the neighbors and have the presence of mind to stain treat my shirt, but I can't tell you who that driver was..." I can just see the Yonts family and it's supporters, on the stand begging for mercy for the poor soul who killed their child and left him to die. Asking for leniency... Requesting that instead of time served in a correctional facility, the person just be sent off to do some motivational speaking...
"The victim (God Bless her) was walking the wrong way on a narrow road, dark clothes on, 2:15 a.m. in November, plus she was ACTUALLY on the road. Thats no excuse for leaving her there but MURDER. Come on. If the person who did this wanted to cover this up all they had to do was pick up the rear view mirror and head out of town. This is just a tradegy, not murder. The person who did this had no idea they hit someone."Are you blaming the woman for being on the road? That's just tacky. As far as not knowing....surely you jest. I don't mean to sound harsh, but I've hit a dog before and there is no way I would have not known. If you drink and drive and someone is killed as a result...it is MURDER. If you don't like that fact try your legislators instead of trying to blame a dead woman for being on the road. You think he would have hit her if he wasn't drunk? You know maybe if he hadn't had too much to drink and gotten behind the wheel this would have never happened. But yeah, lets cast some of the blame on the person that was breaking no laws.
BLACKOUTS...they happen.God only help any of our children if they are immature and make a stupid VERY STUPID mitake that takes the life of another.BLACKOUTS...it is possible (beyond a shadow of a doubt = 3 hours) I think something is fishy.
Duke university has an article online discussing Alcohol Related blackouts. I would post a link but I tried that earlier and for some reason it didn't make it to the blog.Liability??? Who knows.
I'll try it again. Free info DUKE UNIVERSITYhttp://www.duke.edu/~amwhite/Blackouts/index.html
I would like to know if any of the jurors read this blog and hear their comments regarding the case if they do. A couple of things that stick in my mind are 1. Did they know the length of the sentence when they found him guilty? 2. Could they have found him guilty on a lesser charge? 3. Did everyone agree immediately that he was guilty, or did somebody have to be convinced? I think he is guilty of her death, but I think he should have been charged with something other than wanton murder - perhaps vehicular manslaughter, or something in that range. I'm curious as to how the jury members would have felt about that.
This indeed is a tragedy for both families; however, as many have said, if he would just own up to it it may have had a different outcome. If he was really that drunk, he would have had no idea how he got home--his story just doesn't make any sense. Someone doesn't "steal" your car and then bring your keys back to you and leave them in your bedroom. If he were to be honest, his story would be that he had no memory of how he got home, not that he "knows" he wasn't driving. He has very selective memory--and the jury didn't buy it. I do feel for his family as well as Nadia's--neither family will ever be the same.
Again read the duke university study. It's not SELECTIVE if it's a blackout.
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