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Accomplice gets 12-plus years in Wrightsville murder of Sami Young
The family of murder victim Samantha Young said in court Thursday that Natasha Stover was obsessively jealous of Young and that the only reason Stover didn't participate in Young's slaying was because she couldn't get to the bloody crime scene in time.
They asked presiding Common Pleas Judge Harry M. Ness to impose a sentence that would deprive the 21-year-old woman of the chance to have her own child someday, arguing that would be justice for taking Young from her then-1-year-old daughter, Arteya.
As they did when "Sami" Young's murderer and ex-boyfriend, Marcus Bordelon, was sentenced to life in prison without parole, plus 10 to 20 years, for first-degree murder and related charges, they also spoke about what a good mother Young was to Arteya.
They expressed their heartbreak and dread at the thought of having to answer the questions Arteya will inevitably have for them about Young, as well as about Bordelon, who is the little girl's father.
"I think you helped to instigate the whole thing," Karen Hawkes, Young's grandmother, told Stover on Thursday during Stover's sentencing hearing. "And I think you were just lucky enough to not get there in time to do what you wanted to do, and that was to be every part of this murder. What were you thinking when you were planning and helping with the murder of another human being?"
Other family members told the judge that Stover repeatedly interfered in the relationship between Young and Bordelon, inserting herself in their activities and even once suggesting the three of them live together and raise Arteya as a threesome. They cited a number of specific encounters between Young and Stover.
Months of planning: But mostly, they spoke about the months of text messages between Stover and Bordelon in which the former couple discussed murdering other people they were angry with before turning their focus to planning and carrying out Young's ambush murder. They referenced a text message the day of the murder in which Stover told Bordelon to wait for her.
Stover shook her head in disagreement through much of the Young family's statements. When it was the defense's turn to present oral statements, her attorney, family and friends insisted Bordelon emotionally abused and manipulated Stover and that she actually was trying to delay Bordelon not help him.
They asked Ness to show Stover mercy, saying she is continuing her education in prison and someday wants to be a psychologist who helps abused women.
Stover's defense attorney, Suzanne Smith, said an expert psychologist determined that Stover suffered from battered-spouse syndrome, which doesn't require a victim actually be married to her or his abuser.
But chief deputy prosecutor Tim Barker said that while there's no doubt Bordelon is a manipulator and a sadist, Stover made the choice to become involved and for months helped to plan the crime. He also noted that a psychiatrist for the prosecution determined that Stover didn't suffer from battered-spouse syndrome.
Barker scoffed at the idea that she was trying to delay the murder.
"Miss Stover was a willing participant ... based on her own selfishness and immaturity," he argued.
Judge 'underwhelmed': Ness eschewed the probation department's recommendation that Stover be sentenced to five to 10 years in prison and noted he was "underwhelmed" by the defense theory that Stover's involvement was because she'd been emotionally abused and manipulated by Bordelon.
"You could have stopped this," he told Stover, echoing the statements of several of Young's family members.
Ness sentenced Stover to 12½ to 25 years in state prison, plus a year of probation. She was given credit for the 673 days she already has served. On Feb. 28, Stover pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, obstructing the administration of law and conspiracy to obstruct the administration of law.
'Couldn't protect her': Seven of her family members and friends told the judge that Stover is a kind, compassionate, hardworking person who withdrew from her family after Bordelon "got his hooks into her."
"I just couldn't protect her from him," Terry Stover, the defendant's father, said in court.
One after another, they listed the good qualities they saw in Stover, causing Young's family to become visibly frustrated. They whispered quietly to each other, cried, comforted one another and consulted with victim-witness coordinators sitting in court with them.
Young's sister, Angelica Young, told the judge she had watched in vexation as Stover laughed and blew kisses at her family in court.
"What if she gets out and goes after Arteya?" she asked.
The background: Bordelon murdered Samantha Young in his Wrightsville home on April 19, 2015.
Stover admitted her part in the murder conspiracy and also admitted she helped Bordelon move Young's car away from his home after the murder and accompanied Bordelon to Home Depot to buy lime.
Bordelon, 23, fatally stabbed Young at least 49 times, according to earlier testimony.
"I have searched the depths of myself," he said at his Feb. 21 sentencing hearing. "I can't say how or why I let myself commit this unbearable act."
Bordelon lured Young to his Chestnut Street home by telling her something was wrong with Arteya, who was visiting her father that night, according to Young's family.
'Co-mingled' wounds: Young suffered stab wounds and cuts all over her body, including clusters of stab wounds to her back and wounds to her neck, head, chest, arms and legs.
Stab wounds penetrated her heart, both lungs, liver and diaphragm, according to Dr. Michael Johnson, a forensic pathologist who testified at Bordelon's preliminary hearing.
Johnson said Young suffered at least 49 stab wounds, probably more. He explained that "clusters" of wounds with "co-mingled" pathways made it difficult to count the wounds with certainty.
Bordelon used a stun gun to keep Young, who lived in York Township, from leaving his home before killing her, according to Wrightsville Police.
Officers responding to Bordelon's home on April 19, 2015, found Young's body in a locked shed in Bordelon's yard, documents state. It appeared that she had been dragged there, preliminary hearing testimony indicated.
In court Thursday, Ness noted that Bordelon lived next door to the Wrightsville police station.
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at email@example.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.