A Fort Leonard Wood soldier will spend the next 20 years in military prison for an off-post incident last fall near St. Robert that severely injured his 13-month-old stepson.
Post officials announced recently that Spec. Christopher Young was convicted on July 10 of one specification of maiming. According to Fort Leonard Wood officials, Young pleaded innocent to maiming his stepson “by shaking and hitting him, causing blindness, hearing loss and necessitating a feeding tube,” but despite his plea, was found guilty in a general court martial under Article 124 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
Young, 26, had been a petroleum supply specialist assigned to the 193rd Brigade Support Battalion of the 4th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade at Fort Leonard Wood. His sentence is the maximum possible for the offense: 20 years confinement, reduction to the lowest enlisted rank of E-1, forfeiture of all pay and allowances and a dishonorable discharge.
The case began ten months ago when Pulaski County sheriff’s deputies arrested Young on Sept. 30 following a child abuse incident on the afternoon of Sept. 28 in which he was accused of striking his stepson on the head and body.
Pulaski County prosecutors released jurisdiction to the Army on Oct. 17. That’s common in complicated off-post cases involving servicemembers since military prosecutors typically have greater investigative resources at their disposal and potential penalties are often far higher than what would be likely in a civilian court.
Unlike many Fort Leonard Wood servicemen, Young has ties to the state and his hometown is in Patterson.
According to Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department records, 911 dispatchers received a call at 2:47 p.m. on Sept. 28 but asked for law enforcement intervention because they believed the report of a child breathing but not conscious “doesn’t sound right.”
Dispatch logs report the child’s father claimed his son had fallen from a toy earlier in the day. When deputies arrived at the home on Top Drive east of St. Robert about 3 p.m., they called in a senior detective who specializes in child investigations. Ten minutes later, medics requested a helicopter for their patient who was airlifted to Springfield for emergency treatment. Police in Springfield were then asked by Pulaski County deputies to go to a hospital in their city and assist until the sheriff’s deputies could arrive.
Young wasn’t immediately taken into custody, but he was arrested by sheriff’s deputies at 10:30 a.m. on Sept. 30 in the Fort Leonard Wood JAG office and taken to the Pulaski County Courthouse. According to court documents, he was arraigned and pleaded innocent to a Class C felony charge of abusing a child that accuses him of knowingly inflicting cruel and inhuman punishment on the child by “hitting and/or shaking” the child “causing external closed head injuries and injuries about the face, head and body and internal injuries to the brain and eyes.”
According to a press release issued at the time by Pulaski County Sheriff J.B. King, Young was held in his jail on a $100,000 bond by civilian authorities until military authorities took charge of the case.
The military justice system doesn’t allow bail and Young was transferred to a military prison at Fort Knox last fall.