Cape man sentenced to life in prison
A Cape Coral man was sentenced to life in prison Tuesday after pleading in court to charges tied to a sexual battery and murder from 2008.
Baron Darnell Young, 41, pleaded to one count each of first-degree murder, robbery with a deadly weapon, sexual battery with a deadly weapon or great force, grand theft of a motor vehicle and grand theft.
“He pled straight to the court,” Samantha Syoen, spokeswoman for the State Attorney’s Office, said.
Lee County Circuit Judge Thomas Reese sentenced Young to life in prison on the murder charge and 144.9 months in prison for the sexual battery charge and the robbery charge each. He received 60 months for the grand theft of a motor vehicle charge and another 60 months for the grand theft.
“All sentences are concurrent,” Syoen said.
Attorney Kenneth Garber of the Office of Public Defender represented Young. Garber refused to comment on the outcome of the case Tuesday.
Assistant State Attorney Robert Lee prosecuted the case.
“We’re very satisfied with the sentence,” Syoen said.
Young was facing a maximum sentence of life in prison if he was convicted, she said. The State Attorney’s Office earlier had waived the death penalty.
According to officials, Young admitted to strangling, cutting, beating and sexually assaulting Tamara Jo Hyatt at a home, located at 1605 N.E. Seventh St., on May 31, 2008, over a $175 debt for work he had done on her truck.
Hyatt was said to have been living at the home with the homeowner, Jack Straub, for about a month prior to her death. She reportedly was a friend of Straub’s deceased wife. Hyatt’s body was discovered by Straub’s stepson, who had stopped by to visit Straub.
Straub said Tuesday that he had been notified by officials that Young would enter into a plea bargain, but Straub did not make the trip to the courthouse.
“Whatever he got, he deserved that and anything else they can give him,” he said. “He’s very lucky he got life as far as I’m concerned.”
Straub said Young avoided trial and a death sentence with his plea.
“For something like that he did, the taxpayers get to keep him the rest of his life,” he said. “I don’t think that’s a reasonable thing.”
According to police, the stepson found Straub’s home in disarray when he stopped by. Alarmed by the mess, he searched the home and found Hyatt’s body in a bedroom. Police said Hyatt had a severe laceration to her throat.
Investigators reported finding that a safe containing several thousand dollars, Hyatt’s truck and two computers were stolen from the home, and the contents of Hyatt’s purse were emptied out on the living room floor.
Young reportedly admitted to stealing Hyatt’s truck after killing her.
Police said Young’s wife alerted authorities to her husband’s possible involvement after finding Hyatt’s truck at their home. She recalled that Young previously had done work on the truck.
Young reportedly told police that Hyatt offered items from the home, including a safe owned by Straub, in lieu of the cash owed him. An argument between the two became physical, and he killed and sexually assaulted her.