Capital murder conviction stands

Published 7:11 pm Friday, April 25, 2008

The Mississippi Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal from Keith Norcell Young, who was convicted in 2005 on charges of capital murder and arson for setting a house fire after killing an elderly woman.

The 2003 fire claimed the life of 86-year-old Rosie Lee Davis. Prosecutors said Davis had been strangled and was killed before her body was damaged in the fire.

Prosecutors said Young burglarized the woman’s home, set her house on fire while she was still inside and stole her car.

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The Supreme Court on Thursday denied Young’s request to hear the case. The state Court of Appeals had upheld Young’s conviction in 2007.

Young was sentenced in Washington County to life without parole for capital murder and two counts of arson.

In his appeal, Young argued that prosecutors didn’t prove that he burglarized Davis’ home.

In Mississippi, capital murder is defined as murder committed along with the commission of another crime; in this case, burglary.

The Appeals Court noted that there was evidence presented of a pry mark on Davis’ front door, which had been left open, and that a television and a purse were missing.

The court said Young, when he was arrested, was found to have Davis’ television and purse.