February 19, 2017

Fountain Young Kills Nathan Trusty, Casey, 1871


Click here for a list of my other Pulaski/Rockcastle/Laurel County KY articles


This case and several of the articles below were sent to me by Jessy S. Thank you! 

See also:  Buck Merritt Kills John Johnson, Pulaski, 1882.


[December 8, 1871] -


CASEY CIRCUIT COURT. -- The Winter session of the Casey Circuit Court opened on Monday, 27th ult., with Judge Fox on the bench and Maj. M. H. Owsley for the Commonwealth. The docket was much larger than usual, being upwards of seventy appearances, with a number of old cases hard to compute. Among the distinguished bar-tenders we noted R. P. Jacobs, Jno. S. Vanwinkle, Danville; Robert Lusk, Lancaster; J. W. Alcorn, Wm. H. Miller, R. J. Breckenridge, Jr.; and Robt. Blain, Stanford; John Belden, Lebanon; J. E. Hays and Boyle Stone, Jamestown; Cols. Adams and Wolford, McD. and Jesse Fogle, John D. Page, R. B. Pittman and Andy Williams, Liberty; lawyers enough to throw Paradise into confusion, much less a city like Liberty. Up to this writing the Court has sentenced one man, Nathan R. Thomas, to two years in prison, for resisting a civil officer; fined another, Leroy Napier, one thousand dollars, for striking a woman; and will perhaps pass the death sentence upon the third, Fontaine Young, for murder. [1]


[January 27, 1872] -

The Governor advertises the following rewards: John Bishop, charged with murder in Clay county, $500; Ephraim Brown, indicted for the crime of murder in Ballard Circuit Court, $300; James Henry Bishop, charged with murder in Whitley county, and supposed to be at present in the State of Indiana, $500; Fountain F. Young, charged with murder in Casey county, $500--all of whom are fugitive from justice. [2]


[June 7, 1872] -

Off for Liberty Court.

Fount Young, accused of the murder of Trusty, in Casey county, and who has been lying in our [Lincoln Co.] jail wounded, for some months, was taken to Liberty last Monday morning to be tried at the present term of the Casey circuit court. [3]


[June 21, 1872] -

Condemned to Death.

Fountain Young, the wounded prisoner who was tried at Liberty this month on a charge of murdering Trusty, was condemned to be hung next September. He is now in our jail awaiting the dreadful day, when his life will pay the penalty incurred by the violation of the laws of God and of man. [4]


[June 28, 1872] -

Capital Punishment.

Lying in our jail, is a wounded man, condemned to death under a verdict and sentence of a court which tried and convicted him of the murder of a fellow-being: Fountain Young, a man of about 45 years of age--with a family of five or six children and a wife who has stood by him "through evil as well as good report," is now condemned to suffer the extreme penalty of the law, by hanging by the neck, until he is dead, on some day in September next. Here he lies, in our rock prison house--awaiting the dreadful day, when his soul will wing its flight to the maker who gave it. 

Is it right, in this day of advanced civilization, to take the life of a fellow creature, as a forfeit for the life he stands accused of having taken? Or would it be better and more merciful and just, to imprison him for life, under the charge preferred against him? Let those who would be done by as they would wish others to do by them, decide

For our part we are, and shall ever be, opposed to capital punishment. It is a miserable relic of the dark and barbarous ages, and should find no advocates in this age of civilization. [5]


[July 19, 1872] -

The Condemned.

Fountain Young, who was condemned to be hung on the 6th day of September next, by the Casey Court, is now in our jail, suffering from the severe wound he received when captured some four months ago. As to his spiritual condition we are not advised. He is "sick and in prison,"--is he visited? [6]


[July 19, 1872] -

The Courier-Journal speaks of Fount Young as "the noted Casey County desperado." [7]


[October 9, 1872] -

Fountain F. Young v. Commonwealth.


5 Ky. Op. 711; 1872 Ky. LEXIS 334

October 9, 1872, Decided 


DISPOSITION: Judgment reversed and cause remanded.  

COUNSEL: Hill & Alcorn, A. Hensley, Breckenridge, Woolford, for appellant.  

JUDGES: Judge Lindsay.  

OPINION BY: Lindsay 

 [*711]  Opinion by Judge Lindsay:

Section 239, Criminal Code of Practice, provides that:

"A conviction cannot be had upon the testimony of an accomplice, unless corroborated by other evidence tending to connect the defendant with the commission of the offense; and the corroboration is not sufficient if it merely shows that the offense was committed and the circumstances thereof."

The principal evidence against the appellant was that detailed by an accomplice. Touching the testimony of this witness the court instructed the jury that they should find the defendant guilty if they believed from the testimony of John Young, and other testimony corroborating his testimony, or circumstances tending to connect the defendant with the commission of the act  [*712]  beyond a reasonable doubt, that he did kill Tinsley [Trusty], procured it to be done or was present, aiding and abetting said killing, although they may believe John Young was an accomplice in said killing.

This instruction authorized the jury to find [**2]  the defendant guilty if they believed from what John Young, the accomplice, swore, and other testimony corroborating his evidence that the appellant killed or was present and aided and abetted in the killing of Tinsley [Trusty], although this corroborating evidence may not have tended to connect appellants with the commission of the offense, but merely showed that the offense had in point of fact been committed.

The instruction is also objectionable because it assumed that there was testimony corroborating the statements of the accomplice, or proof of circumstances connecting appellant with the killing.

The jury should have been left to determine whether or not there was any such corroborating evidence.

It also, in effect, takes away from the jury the right to consider any other evidence than that named by the court. They are told that if they believe from the testimony of John Young, and other testimony corroborating it, or circumstances connecting appellant with the killing beyond a reasonable doubt, they must find him guilty.

Confined alone to the testimony selected as pertinent and important, they might find the prisoner guilty and still be of opinion that there was other evidence before [**3]  them which, if they were allowed to consider, would at least leave a rational doubt as to his guilt.

For these reasons we regard this instruction as erroneous and misleading.

The other questions raised in the argument of counsel relate only to matters of practice, and as it is most likely that the rulings complained of will not be made upon the next trial it is not necessary that we should pass upon them. The record sufficiently shows that all the instructions given by the court are embodied in the bill of exceptions.

Judgment reversed and cause remanded for a new trial upon principles not inconsistent with this opinion. [8]


[October 18, 1872] -

Fount Young.

The Court of Appeals have reversed the case of Fount young against the Commonwealth, appealed from the Casey Circuit Court. Our readers will remember that young was convicted of murder in the first degree and sentenced to be hanged last month. From this verdict and judgment Young appealed and the case has been reversed. [9]


[November 1, 1872] -


Against Lincoln county allowed by the Court of Claims for said county at its October Term, 1872, and ordered to be paid out of the County Levy for the year 1873; published pursuant to an act of the Legislature, approved March 2, 1860.


Dr. J. F. Peyton, medical services to Fount Young, a prisoner..... 248.00
Dunn & Owsley, medicines for Young.....  14.82



[December 6, 1872] -

Casey Circuit Court.

The winter term of the Casey Circuit Court is now in session. Judge Fox begun the same on Monday last. the docket is said to be a small one, and the Court will probably adjourn before the expiration of next week. Several of our Attorneys have gone down. The case of Fount Young, which was reversed by the Appellate Court, will be called for trial during the present term of that Court. [11]


[August 15, 1873] -


We had an interview a few days since with the wife of Fountain Young the escaped prisoner. From her we gleaned the following: That he intends to surrender himself the first court, as he is anxious to have the matter decided. He desires to remain out of jail; has no weapons, and does not intend to harm any one. Is very much hurt in his feelings, because his neighbors are afraid of him; is cripled; has no money, and couldn't leave if he wanted to. [12]


[December 19, 1873] -

The Commonwealth vs. F. F. Young was called on the first day, but that personage being absent, the Judge issued a bench warrant for his arrest, and the Sheriff, summoning a posse started to hunt him up. He was found at his mother's, in Pulaski county, brought to Liberty and remanded to jail to await his trial, which was set for the June term of Circuit Court. [13]


[January 9, 1874] -

A called term of the Casey Circuit Court will be held on the 4th Monday in January for the purpose of hearing the case of the Commonwealth vs. Fountain F. Young. [14]


[June 5, 1874] -

Circuit Court is still continuing at Liberty. The jury in the case of the Commonwealth vs. F. F. Young, returned a verdict of manslaughter and Young was sentenced to the penitentiary for life. [15]


[June 12, 1874] -

The Sheriff started Thursday with FOUNTAIN YOUNG for the penitentiary, where he will be confined during his natural life, for the murder of NATHAN TRUSTY. [16]


[May 9, 1883] -

".... Seven or eight years ago Merritt's mother was accused of killing a man, and the testimony of one witness would have convicted her. Fountain Young, the reputed father of Merritt, killed this witness and thereby secured the release of his mistress, but brought a life sentence to the penitentiary upon himself. ..." See May 9, 1883 source in: Man Shoots Another Over Small Disagreement, Pulaski, 1882


[September 16, 1887] -

John Soard and Fount Young, from Casey county, both life prisoners, were pardoned just before Gov. Knott retired. [17]


[1] Excerpt from "From Casey County." Kentucky Advocate, Danville, KY. December 8, 1871. Page 2. Newspapers.com.

[2] Excerpt from Column 4. The Hickman Courier, Hickman, KY. January 27, 1872. Page 1. Newspapers.com.

[3] "Off for Liberty Court." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. June 7, 1872. Page 3. Newspapers.com.

[4] "Condemned to Death." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. June 21, 1872. Page 3. Newspapers.com.

[5] "Capital Punishment." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. June 28, 1872. Page 3. Newspapers.com.

[6] "The Condemned." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. July 19, 1872. Page 3. Newspapers.com.

[7] Excerpt from "Local Brevities." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. July 19, 1872. Page 3. Newspapers.com.

[8] Young v. Commonwealth5 Ky. Op. 711 (1872). Retrieved from LexisNexis Academic.

[9] "Fount Young." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. October 18, 1872. Page 3. Newspapers.com.

[10] Excerpt from "List of Claims." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. November 1, 1872. Page 3. Newspapers.com.

[11] "Casey Circuit Court." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. December 6, 1872. Page 3. Newspapers.com.

[12] Excerpt from "From Casey County." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. August 15, 1873. Page 3. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84038328/1873-08-15/ed-1/seq-3/

[13] Excerpt from "From Casey County." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. December 19, 1873. Page 1. Newspapers.com.''

[14] Excerpt from "Kentucky Short Stops." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. January 9, 1874. Page 1. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84038328/1874-01-09/ed-1/seq-1/

[15] Excerpt from "From Casey County." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. June 5, 1874. Page 3. Newspapers.com.

[16] Excerpt from "Casey County News." Kentucky Advocate, Danville, KY. June 12, 1874. Page 2. Newspapers.com.

[17] Excerpt from "Hustonville." Kentucky Advocate, Danville, KY. September 16, 1887. Page 3. Newspapers.com.


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