A man whose felony strangulation case was amended to misdemeanor domestic battery has been ordered to spend the next six months in jail.
Andrew Patton Young physically abused his ex-girlfriend twice a week for a year, police said, about 50 times total.
The 45-year-old pleaded guilty Friday to one count of domestic battery in Teton County Circuit Court. In his plea agreement he avoided a felony charge of strangulation and a theft charge, which prosecutors said was due to a lack of evidence.
“Your honor, this pathetic excuse of a man in front of us needs to do every day you can give him,” Teton County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Clark Allan told Judge Jim Radda.
The woman who suffered the abuse confronted her ex in court.
Young sat in the defendant’s chair in a jail-issued jumpsuit.
The victim opted to sit in the witness chair so she could look him in the eyes across the courtroom.
“It’s been a year ago this week since you first hurt me,” she said. “I remember feeling like I deserved what happened.”
The woman said she sometimes wonders how she survived, and yet she has forgiven him.
“Bruises have healed. Bones too,” she said. “I have formed friendships with women in my counseling group. I can be alone, and I am sleeping finally.”
The assault that put a stop to the violence happened June 10, police said.
The argument between the couple was verbal until Young grabbed her by the side of the head and flung her around the room by her hair, court documents state.
“Young slammed her to the floor and landed on top of her,” officers wrote in documents. “Mr. Young grabbed her by the base of the neck and top of the chest and started punching [the victim] in the right side of her head.”
That’s when Young started to go for her neck, police said.
The victim’s brother was in the next room and heard the fight. He kicked the door in and saw Young about to strangle his sister, officers stated.
The victim’s brother pulled Young off her and the woman ran to comfort her son, who was nearby, promising him it was the last time they were going to fight, the victim told police.
When police arrived, Young had already taken off in the victim’s friend’s car and stolen the plates off it. That’s where the theft charge came in.
Young fled to his home state of Tennessee before police could track him down in Jackson, records state. A warrant was issued for his arrest, and he eventually returned to Teton County to face the charges.
The defendant’s story of the event was more vague and less violent.
“I grabbed her by the shoulders and said, ‘Are we going to do this again?’” Young said in court. “Her brother came in and broke up the argument.”
Young later admitted that he had been drinking that day and possibly didn’t remember everything he had done to the victim.
“It was a blur to me,” he told the judge. “I was intoxicated. I have never had my life come to any kind of violence. It’s not in my profile.”
It’s not Young’s first time being in trouble with the law. He has at least four previous felony convictions, Judge Radda stated in court.
“His rap sheet is ridiculous,” Allan said. “They had to give an extra page of paper just to attach to it. This show he is putting on for us today is well practiced. He has been in front of judges all his life.”
Young’s attorney, Elisabeth Trefonas, said his guilty plea on an open sentence shows he’s accepting responsibility.
The victim did not agree that Young had accepted responsibility.
“I don’t see any accountability or honesty of what happened,” she said.
Even so, she asked the court to have mercy while considering his sentence.
“He is not a monster and is not a woman beater,” she said. “He is sick.”
She said if Young can beat his alcoholism he still has a chance of being a good man.
“This is only possible through treatment and sobriety,” she said.
An open sentence meant Judge Radda had full discretion.
“It’s incredible the destruction that your criminal activity has led to in your life,” Radda said. “Some of it appears to be drug related. But it’s such a destructive path. It’s actually mind-boggling at times.”
Six months was the maximum amount of time Radda could legally give Young under the plea agreement.
“It was a particularly brutal domestic violence episode,” Radda said. “There is considerable bodily injury that went on for a long time, and I feel compelled to impose the six month jail sentence.”
Young received credit for 46 days of time already served. He remains in the Teton County Jail.