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Guilty as charged
Lawrence County teen gets life for killing schoolteacher

By Nancy Glasscock 340-2443

MOULTON — A jury convicted Lawrence County teen Demetrick Young of capital murder Friday for beating schoolteacher Judy Jester to death in October 2005.

Circuit Judge Philip Reich sentenced Young to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Young's attorney, John Mays, said he will file a motion for a new trial because some members of the jury pool had already decided Young was guilty.

Several jurors, who deliberated about 51/2 hours Thursday and Friday, were crying as they left the courtroom.

Young was 15 years old when he robbed and fatally beat Jester, authorities said. Jester was working after school Oct. 26, 2005, in the Lawrence County Family Education Center when she was attacked.

District Attorney Jim Osborn said the trial has been emotionally draining for both sides.

"It's been hard on the family, and hard on the whole community," Osborn said. "I think everyone is relieved."

Jester's son, Chad Nichols, said the conviction and sentencing brought closure to the family.

"It's a big relief," he said. "It's been a rough couple of years. Something like this just tears open wounds again."

One side of the courtroom was filled with Jester's family, friends and former co-workers. Some wore buttons featuring Jester's image.

"To see people who supported and knew what type of lady she was, it speaks volumes," Nichols said.

Jester's uncle, Ed Fowler said he is satisfied with the sentence.

"It's so sad that the people she tried to help the most with the after-school programs she was involved in were the ones who caused her death," he said.

Supporters of Young left the courtroom immediately after the sentencing. Some were crying, and could be heard saying they disagreed with the verdict. A woman using profanity was the first of Young's supporters to exit the courtroom.

'No justice'

Other Young supporters were overheard saying, "That's messed up," and "That wasn't no justice," as they left the courthouse.

Mays said the scratches from Jester on Young's face were most likely the deciding factor. Young testified that Jester scratched him after another local teenager demanded money and hit her.

Young said he never touched Jester.

"If someone else had been scratched besides my client, the verdict would have been another way," Mays said. "What's unfortunate is that three other people who took part in this unspeakable crime are out walking around."

The prosecution maintained that Young was the only person involved in the killing.

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