Congregation Mourns Wife Pastor Accused of Slaying
PORT ANGELES, Wash. (AP) _ The tiny Southern Baptist congregation that called the Rev. Grady Young to be its pastor three years ago gathered Thursday to mourn the wife he is accused of shooting to death in the parsonage.
Clallam County sheriff’s officers allowed Young, held on $75,000 bail on a first-degree murder charge, out of jail long enough to attend the Hillcrest Baptist Church funeral service for his wife of 38 years.
Also present were the couple’s five adult children.
Elva Mae Young was shot to death Saturday after she returned from grocery shopping. Young, 60, called police and said his wife apparently had been killed by a burlgar.
Clallam County Prosecutor David Bruneau charged Young with firing the gunshots that killed his 55-year-old wife, then concocting the story of the burglary. Law enforcement officers say Young’s burglary story began unraveling when they found in his house items he had said were stolen. Beneath the mobile home that serves as a parsonage they found two guns, including the .22-caliber rifle authorities believe was the murder weapon.
Young bought the gun July 21 in Seattle, court papers indicated, ostensibly for target shooting and deer hunting.
A final determination on whether the bullets that struck Mrs. Young in the head and heart came from that gun likely will be made by the FBI’s crime lab in the next two to three weeks, said sheriff’s Sgt. Don Kelly.
Kelly and defense lawyer Craig Ritchie, himself a former Clallam County prosecutor, said the apparent lack of motive was the biggest mystery.
Circumstantial evidence indicates the homicide ″looks like more than a spur-of-the-moment thing but that doesn’t indicate (who did it),″ Ritchie added.
Young will plead innocent Friday in Clallam County Superior Court, Ritchie said, adding he’ll ask for a reduction in bail.
Kelly said investigators first began finding holes in the ″unknown burglar″ theory on the second day of their investigation. Young was arrested Tuesday and charged Wednesday.
The Rev. Cecil Sims, executive director of the Northwest Baptist Convention in Portland, Ore., traveled to this Olympic Peninsula community of 17,000 people to eulogize Mrs. Young on Thursday.
It was Sims who first called the Youngs out of Texas in 1954 to minister in a tiny church in Leavenworth, a Hillcrest Baptist member said.
Young served at several Northwest churches before coming to Port Angeles in 1983. He told investigators he also worked as a caseworker for the state Department of Social and Health Services.
The congregation established a memorial fund for Mrs. Young, with proceeds to be used for the church, said a Young family member who refused to identify himself by name. The fund is ″absolutely not″ a legal fund for Young, the family member added.
Friends and church members voiced support for Young, although there were signs that support within the 80-member congregation was not unanimous.