After years of being suspected but never having charges filed against him, an alleged serial killer currently incarcerated in Illinois has been charged with the 1999 slaying of a University of Utah theater student.
Donald Younge Jr., 41, who has been a suspect for several years in the slaying of Amy Quinton, was charged Thursday in 3rd District Court with aggravated murder, two counts of attempted
aggravated murder, three counts of aggravated kidnapping, three counts of aggravated robbery and one count of aggravated burglary. All charges are first-degree felonies.
An aggravated murder charge carries a possible death sentence. The Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office has 60 days after a defendant is arraigned to determine whether or not to seek the death penalty.
Reached by phone at his home Thursday, Garry Quinton, Amy Quinton's father, said he had been instructed not to make any comments to the media. Garry and Judy Quinton still live in Utah.
In a 2005 letter to the editor in the Deseret News, Judy Quinton did not mention Younge by name, but called the person who killed her daughter a "hate-filled individual" who was a "menace to society."
"I am in favor of the death penalty rather than our taxes supporting his existence for years in the future. By his heinous acts, he has proven himself an endangerment to society. He is like a hungry wolf among the sheep and should be eliminated. Who knows how many others he has killed! He has lost his right to life!"
But in a recent article in the Belleville News-Democrat in Illinois, Quinton said she was not a vengeful person and that she would be OK if Younge were sentenced to life in prison without parole in Illinois and never stood trial in Utah.
Amy Quinton, 22, was killed Aug. 3, 1999, after a man entered her and her roommates' condo, 127 S. 800 East, through an unlocked sliding glass door. Three people, including Quinton, were home at the time.
Quinton was studying and one roommate was watching a movie when Younge entered, according to court documents. When the girl watching the movie got up to go to the kitchen, she was met by Younge, who held a knife to her throat and told her to be quiet or he would kill her, the documents state.
The girl began to struggle with Younge, and Quinton dialed 911. Younge entered Quinton's room and told her to hang up or he would kill all three of them, according to prosecutors. When dispatchers called back, Younge answered the phone and said everything was fine.
He gave the girls duct tape and told them to tape each other up, according to court documents. After the girls handed over their wallets, Younge began to leave.
"Younge started to leave the apartment but returned quickly, stabbed (one girl), hit (another girl) in the head and then stabbed Amy Quinton in the chest," the charges state. The other girl who was stabbed was taken to the hospital in critical condition but survived.
After the slaying, investigators were able to track Younge for a short time as he used Quinton's credit cards to buy gas in Park City and Steamboat Springs, Colo. Detectives, however, lost his trail after that.
Younge has been on the radar of investigators for several years. In fact, one of Quinton's roommates positively identified him in a photo lineup as long as six years ago.
A cousin of Younge's identified Younge's voice on the 911 tape, according to court documents. Another witness identified Younge's car as being parked in front of Quinton's condo the night of her death.
Deputy district attorney Alicia Cook said even though an identification was made, there was other evidence that prosecutors and investigators needed to collect to complete their case. Cook declined to go into further detail Thursday about what other evidence may have been collected or why the DA's office was able to file a murder charge now and couldn't a few years ago.
Younge was arrested and jailed in St. Clair County, Ill., in January 2002, where he has remained ever since. He was charged with three counts of first-degree murder in the brutal slayings and dismemberments of three prostitutes in East St. Louis, Ill., in 1999. A fourth prostitute said she also was attacked by Younge but survived.
For a time, it appeared as though Younge would face the death penalty in Illinois. But the fourth prostitute was killed in an unrelated incident in 2002. Shortly after, prosecutors noted their key witness was dead and abandoned their effort to seek the death penalty.
The Belleville News-Democrat said Younge had been incarcerated more than 2,300 days without having a trial a record for that area.
Younge also was charged with the rape of a U. student in 1996. The case was significant because it marked the first time in Utah that so-called John Doe charges were filed. Younge's DNA from the crime was put on file, but his name was not attached to the charge until investigators figured out who the DNA belonged to once he was arrested in Illinois.What happens now in Younge's many cases was unknown Thursday. Cook said her office would be speaking with officials in Illinois, and based on factors such as the status of the Illinois case and extradition, a decision would be made whether Younge would return to Utah to first face an aggravated murder charge here, or if he would continue with his court proceedings in Illinois.