Young, a former Holland resident, is suspected of shooting and killing 22-year-old Anthony Lamb outside the Holland Hookah Lounge, 960 Butternut Drive in Holland Township, at about 3 a.m. Sept. 11, 2016. Young was picked up by police in Memphis, Tenn., last December and brought back to Holland. He is charged with open murder, carrying a concealed weapon and using a firearm to commit a felony.
Lamb, who has two young children, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Eight men and six women from Ottawa County were selected for the jury, and are expected to hear 55 listed witnesses take the stand, though some of those are being called by both the prosecutor’s office and Young’s defense attorney. Attorneys expect the trial to take at least two weeks.
“This case is about a guy who was just itching to use his gun that night,” said prosecuting attorney JoEllen Haas in her opening statement.
Haas said that on the plane ride back from Memphis, Young told a detective that he would tell police where his gun was if another individual at the scene was held accountable.
“It’s an acknowledgement by the defendant that he was at the hookah lounge that night, that he had a gun, that he fired that gun,” Haas said. “He is guilty of all three counts.”
Following a chaotic scene outside the hookah lounge that involved several groups of people, some of whom were related to each other, several shots were fired. However, Young’s defense attorney said the group of people the victim was with fired first.
“Young is not guilty of murder, not guilty of felony firearm,” said defense attorney Tom Smith. “He protected and defended himself and others by shooting back and trying to stop the sudden fear of a deadly attack with a firearm. It was literally a hail of rounds. If he didn’t fire back, he’d be dead, and so would others.”
Young’s attorneys are expected to argue that his actions were justified because he was acting in self-defense after others instigated threatening behavior. Young will testify on his own behalf during the trial.
“He’s going to take the stand,” Smith said. “He’s been waiting a year to tell you all about this. He will tell you in exquisite detail.”
Smith said several people outside the hookah lounge were sharing a gun, taking turns shooting at Young, and that Young was shooting back only in self-defense.
Along with Young, multiple members of his family will testify, along with Young’s two girlfriends at the time of the incident, several independent witnesses, firearms experts and the medical examiner. During the first day of the trial, Lamb’s then-girlfriend Ymani Williams was the first witness to testify. Lamb and Williams have a 2-year-old daughter together.
Of the 14 people selected for the jury, two of those individuals will be randomly chosen as alternates. Though all 14 jurors have to sit through the entire trial, the two alternates will not be involved in determining the verdict unless they are required to fill in for another juror.
The trial will begin again at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 6, with the medical examiner set to take the witness stand.
Haas said during her opening statement that the bullet found inside Lamb’s body came from a gun similar to the one Young’s girlfriend remembered Young having the night of the murder.
“The victim suffered a gunshot wound to his upper left arm,” Haas said. “It went through his chest cavity, through his lung, through a major artery, went through it, then went out the other side. It ultimately lodged and rested in his spine. He bled out. He had about 20 seconds to live. Once that artery is perforated, it’s like putting a hole right through a hose. His chest cavity filled up with blood. The victim is dead on the concrete under the awning.”
Should Young be convicted of murder, the jury will determine whether he is guilty of first-degree premeditated murder, or second-degree murder, which is not premeditated. If he is guilty, Young faces up to life in prison.