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Thursday, July 14, 2022

The Charles D. Young Murder-For-Hire Case

     In May 2005 high school senior Charles D. Young met 17-year-old Wendy Smith (not her real name) at a military ball in Spokane Washington. He asked her out, and after a month of dating they began to fight. Typically, after one of their arguments Charles would stand all night beneath her window or the next day follow her around after school. When Wendy Smith tried to end the relationship Young threatened to kill himself. After ten months of enduring his weird and obsessive behavior Wendy told Mr. Young she had found someone else. This was not true, but she wanted this strange kid out of her life. Charles refused to take no for an answer and became Wendy's full time stalker.

     Three months after the breakup Charles Young suddenly lost interest in Wendy and slipped out of her life. A few weeks after that, in July 2006, Wendy's parents got in touch with Charles and gave him news he didn't like. Their daughter was pregnant with his child. Charles angrily insisted that the baby couldn't be his and said that a paternity test would prove it.

     After his initial reaction to the news that he would soon become a father, Charles changed his tone. Following a series of meetings with Wendy and her parents, Charles expressed a desire to help raise the child. But when he stopped communicating with his ex-girlfriend and her parents they figured they had seen the last of him. They were wrong.

     Back home in Colville Washington Charles asked a friend if he knew how much it would cost to have someone killed. A few days later Charles offered this person $3,000 to either murder or seriously injure his former girlfriend. The main idea, Charles said, was to kill the fetus. If the mother survived that would be okay with him. The friend, convinced that Charles was serious, contacted the Stevens County Sheriff's Office.

     On October 11, 2006, a few days before Wendy's due date, Charles met an undercover officer in the town of Suncrest a few miles north of Spokane. With the tape recorder running in the officer's car Charles said he would pay $3,250 to have the problem with his ex-girlfriend "disappear." He said he didn't care if the girl lived or died as long as the fetus was destroyed. The murder-for-hire mastermind handed the officer a photograph of Wendy and a handmade street map showing where she lived. Charles then took out $1,620 in twenty-dollar bills and handed it to the undercover officer. He promised to pay the balance of the hit money when the job was done. After pocketing the money the officer placed the 18-year-old under arrest. That evening Charles D. Young found himself inside the Stevens County Jail. The next day the magistrate set his bond at $1 million.

     The Stevens County prosecutor charged Young with solicitation to commit first-degree murder and solicitation to commit first degree-murder of a fetus. A conviction on either charge qualified him for life behind bars.

     In April 2007 Charles Young was allowed to plead guilty to the solicitation of manslaughter. His lawyer described his client to the court as an intelligent young man who had received bad advice regarding his responsibilities as a father. The defense attorney said that his client had apologized to Wendy and her parents.

     The Stevens County judge, in February 2009, sentenced Charles D. Young to six years in prison. The judge justified his extreme leniency on the grounds that this murder-for-hire mastermind had only intended to have the unborn child murdered. The sentencing judge must have forgotten about Young's indifference to whether or not his hit man also murdered or seriously injured the child's mother.

    Cases like this undermine one's faith in our criminal justice system. 


  1. He stalked me too. The time he "lost interests" in her was because he was making my life hell. His arrest was what ended it, but he sent me letters from jail. All these years later and it still haunts me. I was just 15.

  2. I was friends with his sister growing up. So I spent the night at their house all the time. He comes from an odd family but he was definitely the wierdest one. He had angry outbursts that were scary and it didnt help that he was a really big guy. One of the last times I saw him was about a year before this took place and he has told me he had a crush on me. I'm so relieved that it wasnt mutual and that I brushed it off.