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Murder suspect claims self-defense at trial

By Audra Gamble/The Holland Sentinel • Dec 9, 2017 at 7:00 AM

On the fourth day of the murder trial of Aaron Young, the suspect testified he had no choice other than to defend himself with a gun at the Holland Hookah Lounge on Sept. 11, 2016, during a fight in the parking lot.

Young testified Friday that he did fire a gun that night, killing 22-year-old Anthony Lamb, but that he did not fire first.

Between the time that the last person of the two competing groups left the hookah lounge and the time that an independent witness saw the first gunshot fired, 21 seconds had passed, according to video surveillance inside the lounge. That last person to leave the lounge, Demetrius “Meech” Viney, is who Young claims fired the first shot.

Young, 26, claims his cousin, Adam Young, had gotten into an argument with Viney prior to the hookah lounge incident, and Viney exhibited threatening behavior that night.

“I was really concerned because, seeing how he was acting, he might start shooting in this lounge,” Young testified. “He was dancing around, lifting his shirt, he was going nuts. How he was acting, I know he had (a gun).”

Young said that, after a while, his group of friends and family decided to leave the hookah lounge. As soon as they got up, Viney and his group of friends followed. Young claims that, once outside, Viney pulled a 9-mm semiautomatic pistol out and pointed it at Adam Young’s head.

″I’m in the direct line of fire because I’m behind Adam, and he points it at Adam,” Young testified. “So, I jump out of the way to retrieve my pistol. By the time I get mine out, he’s already lit off two shots. I thought he shot Adam in the face, it was that close.”

Young said he then fired two shots in return out of his 22-caliber revolver, but fired them purposefully high, warning others to get out of the way.

Then, Young claims, Anthony Lamb grabbed Viney’s gun and fired directly at Young. In return, Young fired two more shots toward Lamb. Young watched Lamb fall to the ground and heard the pistol clatter on the ground. Another individual in Viney’s group, Levell Turner, who was friends with Young, then allegedly grabbed the pistol from the ground and fired at Young.

“Levell’s unloading on me,” Young said. “After his first shot, he let off three more, probably.”

Throughout the four days of the jury trial, this was the first explanation the jury heard of what happened during those 21 seconds leading up to the shootout. If the jury is to believe Young acted in self-defense and is not guilty of murder, who shot first will be vital in determining if self-defense was necessary.

“I was too worried about my protection, I honestly was,” Young said. “Viney fired into a crowd. I’m thinking Adam had already got shot in the head, I’m thinking he’s going to turn the gun on me. If Meech had never shown his gun, (mine) would never have left the car.”

Prosecuting Attorney JoEllen Haas asked Young that, if he was so concerned about his family’s safety, why he didn’t call police.

“I really cannot answer,” Young said. “I’ve never called the police in my life. Looking back on it, maybe I should (have).”

Haas also said Young didn’t tell the hookah lounge’s owner of his concern, either.

Young eventually fled to Memphis, Tennessee. On the plane ride back with Ottawa County Detective Michael Tamminga, Young cried and told Tamminga about the incident.

“He talked about how, that night, he didn’t have a beef with Anthony,” Tamminga said. “They never really had anything against each other. He became quite emotional and talked about the seriousness of the charges against him. He started to cry on the plane.

“He referred to the fact that what happened that night in his own defense, because Meech was the one that pulled the gun first,” the detective continued. “He talked about how he and his friends only had the intention of only fighting with their fists until Meech was the one that pulled the gun first. He asked me to do whatever I could to make sure that Meech was charged with something.”

Young’s attorneys intend to finish their case when the trial picks back up on Tuesday, Dec. 12, and the jury will then deliberate until they reach a unanimous verdict.

Young is charged with open murder, carrying a concealed weapon and using a firearm to commit a felony. Should Young be convicted of murder, he faces up to life in prison.

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