Avon stabber sentenced to 20 years
Andrew Young's brutal attack left physical, emotional scars his victim says may never heal
- Andrew Young does not finish high school. He leaves his hometown, Red Bank, New Jersey, to move to Avon, Colorado, where his mother lives.
May 31, 2018
- Andrew Young is lying in wait beside the recreation path that runs along the Eagle River through Avon.
- Several people pass, some older people walking their dogs, some young mothers pushing small children in strollers, some jogging. Finally, the victim jogs past. Her heart rate and breathing are both up. The run is part of her successful early-morning exercise regimen.
- She spots Andrew Young as she jogs past.
- She can hear him running behind her as she continues jogging.
- Andrew Young passes her and stops running to face her. That alarms the woman and she also stops running.
- After a few moments she decides to start running again.
- As she passes Young she feels a hard blow to the top of her head, then several blows to the right side of her body.
- She feels like she is being stabbed. She is. Five times.
- Bleeding from her wounds she still manages to break away from Young and run for her life. He runs after her.
- She reaches the Westin Resort and Spa where two men spot her, administer first aid and call 911. She is rushed to Vail Health hospital. Those two people helped save her live, Avon Police Chief Greg Daly said.
- Avon police arrive at the scene of Young’s attack, four minutes after receiving the 911 call.
- Andrew Young returns to his mother’s condo in Avon. His mother sees he has blood on his hands. “Andrew told her he hurt someone, but she was fine,” his arrest affidavit says. His mother throws his clothes in a washing machine.
- Avon Police have already begun scouring the area where Young stabbed his victim. They find Young’s knife, broken into two pieces. The handle is broken off.
- Avon Police follow a blood trail back to Young’s mother’s Avon condo. They see a puddle of blood on the porch, outside the sliding glass door.
- Young’s mother takes her son to a local doctor to treat the wounds on his hands.
- At the doctor’s office, Young tells the physician he had stabbed a woman who was running on the Avon bike path, that he stabbed her so hard the kitchen knife broke. The doctor notifies the police.
- Meanwhile, lying in her hospital bed the victim is in critical condition, but insists on speaking with police. She is detailed and exact in her recollections. She tells police to look for a slender light-skinned male with long black hair, wearing mustard-colored pants, a gray hoodie, white shoes and black and white printer boxer underwear.
- Young is arrested without incident and booked into the Eagle County jail on attempted murder charges.
June 12, 2018: Avon police announce that Young’s rampage is an isolated incident, calming an apprehensive public.
Feb. 24, 2019: Andrew Young pleads guilty to the stabbing.
March 19, 2019: Andrew Young is sentenced to 20 years in prison.
EAGLE — A local woman is not dead because she acted quickly.
According to police, Andrew Young tried desperately to kill her on the morning of May 31, 2018, on a recreation path in Avon. He hit her on top of her head with a Pinnacle Cutlery kitchen knife, then stabbed her five times so hard the blade broke. When she ran for her life, sprinting while gushing blood and praying to see her children one more time, he chased her.
Police know the facts of what happened, but why has been much harder to pin down. Avon police determined it was a random attack.
Young will spend the next 20 years in prison, sentenced Tuesday afternoon by District Court Judge Russell Granger. Young was 18 when he carried out the attack in May. He turned 19 in the Eagle County jail.
The victim bravely speaks
The victim, who wishes to remain anonymous, spoke bravely through tears in the courtroom on Tuesday, recounting in more than 20 minutes of testimony what Young’s attack put her and her children through — so far. She says she doubts she’ll ever fully recover.
She was on her early-morning jog along a rec path in Avon when she sensed that things weren’t right.
She continued running. Maybe everything would be OK.
“It was very, very far from OK,” Deputy District Attorney Stephen Potts said.
She jogged past Young, skulking beside the path. She could hear above her earphones his heavy running behind her.
He passed her and she stopped for a moment, but soon she started her run again.
As she began to move, he plunged the knife all the way through her shoulder and out the back. Then he kept stabbing her.
“He had a dark and frightful determination, on his face,” the victim said through her tears. “The only reason he stopped is that he broke the knife while he was penetrating my chest.
“Each stab was as powerful as the first,” she said.
When he stabbed her in the arm, Young broke off a chunk of her humerous bone. The surgical repair was one of five surgeries in six months, two within hours of the attack to stop internal bleeding caused by bone fragments the man had chopped loose.
Even stabbed, shocked, gushing blood, she managed to break free and run.
“I ran for my life and he chased me down. He was showing no mercy,” she said.
While she was being stabbed she thought of her children, that she would like to see them one more time, she said.
She sprinted for 75 to 100 yards. Young ran after her, she said.
“I ran with all of my might. He was right behind me. He was not lethargic and the only reason he stopped was because we reached the Westin hotel,” she said.
Two “nice men” at the Westin helped her. Avon Police Chief Greg Daly says their quick actions helped save her life.
“I called 911 to make sure someone knew what had happened to me,” she said.
Young claims he has faced some adversity in his 19-year life, but nothing that would lead to this kind of violence, Potts said.
“This is not a case where he was abused and locked in a cage by his parents,” Potts said.
Her family’s life is forever altered
Before the brutal murder attempt, the victim said she was living as everyone else: juggling school, her children and a career. Her physical and emotional damage is with her constantly, she said.
“The joy was crushed in my grieving tears. I lost all quiet moments, the quiet and peace. I’ve lost my life,” she said.
Her children are profoundly affected.
“My heart breaks at the sadness in their eyes,” she said.
When she looks in the mirror, the “red, ugly scars” look back at her.
“Every day when I see and feel the lumpiness across my chest, it’s like the scars are taunting me; physical signs that I will never be the same again,” she said.
Her nights are haunted.
“It’s an exhausting existence,” she said.
The blood so visible during the attack returns to her mind when she sees the scars, she said.
“I resent that I will never be able to enjoy the outdoor activities that we once had, and that I will never be able to enjoy basic experiences with my kids,” she said.
Her morning workouts have been replaced with trying to generate the courage to walk to her front door, she said.
“Every sound, every sudden movement, even a stranger’s casual glance are terrifying triggers,” she said.
She left a career she enjoys because walking through the parking structure to the hospital is too terrifying. She constantly scans everyone to validate her safety, she said. Even seeing a hooded sweatshirt — like the one the man was wearing — can be a trigger.
‘I would have supported him’
Young was someone his neighbors and friends would have helped through whatever he was facing, she said.
“I would have supported him. Instead, he hunted me down and attempted to kill me,” she said.
He left his hometown, Red Bank, New Jersey, and moved to his mother’s Avon condo, just a quarter mile from the victim’s home and immediately began planning a murder, the victim said.
“His mother knew something horrific had happened but attempted to conceal it,” she said, referring to Young’s mother washing her son’s bloodstained clothes.
“Andrew Young, you’re a coward’
She was a world-class gymnast and coach. Now there is rarely a day she doesn’t cry, a friend said during Tuesday’s sentencing hearing.
“This sweet woman is experiencing a nightmare that may never end,” he said.
The attack wasn’t robbery or rape, it was a premeditated murder attempt, he said.
“This coward … that’s what he is … viciously stabbed her several times, then ran away leaving her for dead,” he said.
“That morning he was a predator on the hunt for a kill,” he said.
The man turned and spoke to Young directly at the defendant’s table, where Young sat quietly with his head down, his long dark hair shorn and short.
“Andrew Young, you’re a failure. You’re a coward. There is a lot I would like to do to you, but don’t need to. I’m going to let the prison population take care of that. You’re a coward and you deserve everything you’re gonna get.”
Three members of Young’s family were in the courtroom. His father, Andrew Young Sr., spoke to Judge Granger and the victim during Tuesday’s sentencing hearing.
“On behalf of my entire family how sorry we are and that we pray every day for your recovery. I hope, I pray that we can begin to heal as a community and a family. God help us,” he said.
Young’s 20-year sentence is longer than he has been alive, Public Defender Thea Reiff said.
Young’s sentence will end. His victim’s may not, her friends said.
Paul Cuthbertson, a lifelong local of Eagle and Summit counties, died while skiing up to the Polar Star Inn to meet some friends for a celebration of his 21st birthday on Friday night.