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Claremont man sentenced in baseball bat attack

  • Brad Young (Claremont Police photograph)

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 9/13/2021 9:06:02 PM
Modified: 9/13/2021 9:06:03 PM

NEWPORT, N.H. — A 28-year-old Claremont man will serve at least four years in prison after pleading guilty to two felonies on Monday for attacking a neighbor with a baseball bat, hitting her several times in the head because he felt her dog was menacing people.

Sullivan County Attorney Marc Hathaway acknowledged during an hour-long hearing in Sullivan Superior Court that Brad Young has mental health issues that may have played some role, but also said it was an “unprovoked attack” that merited punishment. He also said he was seeking a sentence that would ensure Young sticks to a treatment plan following the November 2020 attack on Wendy Mitchell, a neighbor at 3 Factory Street in Claremont. Young, who attacked Mitchell on her porch, lived in an upstairs apartment with his mother.

“This man took a metal baseball bat and hit that woman, Ms. Mitchell, multiple times in the head,” Hathaway said. “We are very fortunate we are not here dealing with a homicide charge.”

Young had initially been charged with attempted murder, four counts of assault and one count of reckless conduct after telling police he had wanted to intimidate Mitchell and took things “too far” in the dispute over her large dog, according to court documents.

In a victim impact statement read by Hathaway, Mitchell, who was in court for the proceeding, said she required 17 staples and 9 stitches to put her scalp back together, suffered a severe concussion, and still has sharp headaches and blurred vision at times. She also lost customers because she missed three months of work as a farrier, she said.

“I had no inclination that this would happen. I had no warning whatsoever,” Mitchell said in her statement, which also said that Young stopped hitting her only because someone across the street intervened.. “Before this happened I had no reason to be on guard. I am constantly on guard now.”

 Young, who was shackled and in an orange jail uniform, testified that he suffers from schizoaffective disorder, depression and anxiety, and also addressed the court, saying he had done “self-reflection" during his time in jail.

“What I caused was pain, sadness, anger, confusion and a scar that will never heal, for both myself and for Miss Wendy and her friends and family,” Young said. “I promise to you, your honor, that I will never re-offend again. I’ll make sure that my meds are taken with the help of my medical team, because I realize more than ever that I need to take my medications.”

Under a plea agreement, Young pleaded guilty to first-degree assault and criminal threatening with a deadly weapon. His attorney, George Ostler, argued that Young, who has already served 302 days in the Sullivan County jail following his arrest, should be sentenced to two to five years in prison.

“It’s a serious assault,” Ostler conceded. “On the other hand, this a young man with no criminal record and a long-documented mental health issue.”

But Hathaway, the prosecutor, said Young should get 7½ to 15-years in prison for the assault, then a like sentence, albeit suspended, for the criminal threatening to ensure he followed his treatment plan once released.

Hathway also said in court that while Young had no criminal record, he did have to be subdued about two years ago by Claremont police after getting angry while holding a knife. Police Chief Mark Chase’s finger was cut during the incident, Hathaway said, but he opted not to bring charges because the police chief regarded it as a mental health incident.

“This is the second time he has acted out in a  very violent and dangerous way,” Hathaway said of Young.

Sullivan Superior Court Judge Brian Tucker said he was balancing a number of factors involving the attack and imposed a 4- to 8-year sentence for the assault, plus a consecutive 3½ to 7 years, suspended, for the criminal threatening count.

“You have a mental health issue that  likely played a significant role in causing you to act the way you did,” Tucker said to Young. “On the other hand, ensuring the safety of the public is a factor in sentencing I have to take into account.”

“There is a need for the sentence to reflect the seriousness of the crime, and provide adequate deterrence to others,” he added. 

During the hearing, Young’s mother, Rebecca Young, also addressed the court and said he needed help for his mental illness.

“My son is a good man. What happened is not him,” she said.

After he was sentenced and as he was about to be led out of court to prison, Young asked for permission to give his mother and grandmother, who was also in the courtroom, a hug, but, per security protocols, was denied permission.

For her part, Mitchell, who was accompanied by some friends, said after the hearing that she was pleased by the judge’s sentence.

“I think it went well,” said Mitchell, who said she is trying to move from the apartment building.

John P. Gregg can be reached at 603-727-3217 or jgregg@vnews.com.




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