Defense asks for records in murder-for-hire case

Published 3:44 pm Tuesday, July 2, 2024

By Justin Story, Bowling Green Daily News

The attorney for a Bowling Green man accused of attempting to engineer a plot to kill his wife is seeking records concerning the informant who has helped bring the case to court.

Jeffrey Allen Young, 53, appeared Monday afternoon in Warren Circuit Court in a case in which he is charged with criminal solicitation to commit murder and first-degree fleeing or evading police.

The charges against Young resulted from an investigation in 2022 by the Warren County Sheriff’s Office, which was reportedly provided with recordings that purport to show Young discussing a murder-for-hire plot with a confidential informant that targeted his wife, Ashley Young.

In court Monday, Young’s attorney, Alan Simpson, said he filed a pair of motions on Friday requesting Warren Circuit Judge J.B. Hines direct the Warren County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office to disclose any promises of leniency or other agreements the confidential informant has made with the prosecution or law enforcement, along with any communications she has had with law enforcement.

Simpson argues in one motion that the informant began cooperating with police to avoid prosecution or seek a reduced sentence for a criminal offense, and that she was engaged in prostitution when the allegations were made against Young.

The motion said that Ashley Young was visited by the informant at her workplace with two “self-described ‘church ladies’ who also claimed to be detectives,” which Simpson argued was done in an attempt to intimidate both Young and his wife.

“In that meeting, (the informant) admitted that she had been trying to get money from (Jeffrey Young) and that she had made up the allegation that Mr. Young was plotting his wife’s demise,” Simpson’s motion said.

Simpson said this visit was disclosed to an investigator in September and to the prosecution in November.

In that same filing, Simpson requests that the commonwealth’s attorney’s office provide summaries of any interviews with the informant and any electronic communications that law enforcement has had with the informant.

A separate motion from Simpson requests that the court direct the prosecution to produce the informant’s medical records, with Simpson saying that he had been apprised at an earlier point that the informant has terminal cancer and that she would have to testify at a deposition rather than in open court at trial.

Simpson said he was later advised by the prosecution that a deposition was no longer necessary.

“It is unclear whether (the informant) ever had cancer, or is no longer terminal,” Simpson said in the motion. “In either case, counsel wants to know if her cancer diagnosis was the truth or a lie. If it was a lie, given other evidence in this case, the witness’ credibility will be irreparably damaged.”

Warren County Commonwealth’s Attorney Kori Beck Bumgarner said in court that she had received copies of Simpson’s motions near the end of business on Friday and would require some time to file formal responses.

Hines set a July 19 deadline for Bumgarner to respond to Simpson’s motions and to file separate motions that she said she was working on Monday.

Simpson will have until Aug. 2 to respond to Bumgarner’s motions, and Hines set a hearing for Nov. 8 to consider all pending motions.

Jeffrey Young is alleged to have discussed with the informant on Sept. 6, 2022, about staging his wife’s death, detailing a scenario in which the death would appear to have been accidental and suggesting a robbery at his wife’s workplace, according to court records.

Young’s arrest citation details a Sept. 12, 2022, recording in which he allegedly tells the informant that he went to his wife’s workplace over the previous weekend to make sure that no cameras were there and mentions being willing to get money to the informant within a day.

WCSO detectives detained Young, who denied being at the location where the conversations with the informant were alleged to have taken place.

Two separate petitions filed in Warren Circuit Court by Jeffrey and Ashley Young to dissolve their marriage were dismissed in 2023, court records show.