CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A Kanawha County coal miner convicted of beating an elderly victim to death has had his appeal for a lesser sentence denied.
In a 5-0 decision, the West Virginia Supreme Court affirmed the decision of Circuit Court Judge James Stucky to not reconsider the 20-year sentence for Ernest Lyle Young.
Young, 29 at the time, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder July 2012. He told the judge then that Wilfred Naylor, 81, had been a longtime friend who made sexual advances to him.
He said he asked Naylor, a retired federal police officer at the Pentagon, to pick him up after a fight with his wife. Young told the judge the elderly man fought with him when he rebuffed him, but that he was alive when he left the house in Naylor's car.
Authorities discovered Naylor's body in his Hughes Creek home, badly beaten with a baton. They called the crime "brutal."
Young was indicted on a charge of first-degree murder but entered into a plea agreement with prosecutors that included giving testimony against another accused murderer, Brandon Gray.
Young and Gray were cellmates at South Central Regional Jail and Young testified at trial that Gray confessed a murder to him. Gray was convicted by a jury.
Young first appealed his prison sentence to Stucky, renewing his request for home confinement instead. The judge denied that.
In his appeal to the Supreme Court, Young said the circuit court erred in not granting him reconsideration. The justices did not agree.
"Upon our review, the Court finds no error in the circuit court's denial of petitioner's motion for reconsideration," they wrote in a decision released Monday.
The justices said Young's sentence fell within statutory limits. He could have been sentenced to 20 to 40 years in prison.
At his sentencing hearing, a psychologist testified that Young told him Naylor had sexually abused him as a youth.Contact writer Cheryl Caswell at cher...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4832.