Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

December 10, 2012

Carter woman up for parole

Many sign petition against Griffith’s release

GRAYSON — A Carter County woman who admitted to helping her boyfriend kill his parents nearly nine years ago is scheduled to meet with the parole board next week, and more than 700 have signed an electronic petition urging she not be released from prison.

Stephanie Griffith’s parole hearing is scheduled for Dec. 19, when the board will be at the Western Kentucky Correctional Complex in Lyon County, where Griffith is serving her 20-year sentence, according to court records.

It will be the second time for Griffith to meet with the board. Following her first hearing in December 2007, the board denied Griffith parole and ruled she wouldn’t be eligible to be considered for release again until December 2015. However, a new law was subsequently passed that moved Griffith’s eligibility date up to this year.

Griffith, 30, pleaded guilty in January 2006 to two counts of criminal facilitation to commit murder and one count of complicity to commit first-degree burglary. The charges stemmed from the January 2004 slayings of Gary and Cheryl Young of Hitchins.

The Youngs were reported missing on Jan. 16, 2004. Their bodies were located about a month later in an abandoned mine, known as the Mushroom Mines, in Lawton, in western Carter County. Both died of gunshot wounds.

Andrew Young, Gary Young’s son, Cheryl Young’s stepson and Griffith’s boyfriend, pleaded guilty to murder and burglary in the Youngs’ slayings and was sentenced to life. He is in the Kentucky State Reformatory at LaGrange, according to the Kentucky Online Offender Lookup system.

By pleading guilty, Griffith acknowledged she aided or counseled Andrew Young to enter or remain in his parents’ residence for the purpose of committing a crime and also engaged in conduct that provided Andrew Young with the means and the opportunity to kill his parents.

Under the terms of her plea agreement, Griffith was sentenced to five years on each of the facilitation charges and 10 years for complicity, with the terms to run consecutively, for a total of 20 years.

An online petition urging the board to deny parole for Griffith had gathered 764 signatures as of Monday. The petition at thepetitionsite.com is sponsored by friends and family members of the victims.

“Stephanie played a key role in the murders of Gary and Cheryl Young and should not be permitted to return to society,” the petition reads. “By signing this petition, you are confirming to the Parole Board of the Commonwealth of Kentucky that justice has not been served for Gary and Cheryl Young, thus Stephanie Griffith should not be granted parole.”

KENNETH HART can be reached at khart@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2654.

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