Quincy teen pleads guilty to attempted murder, will serve at least 20 years

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Keith W. Young III

QUINCY — When Keith W. Young III entered Courtroom 2B of the Adams County Courthouse on Thursday afternoon, the first thing he did was ask a bailiff for hand sanitizer.

“I haven’t showered in three days,” Young told the bailiff through a blue-paper mask. “They got me on suicide watch …”

Then Young muttered something inaudible before he said, “Crazy.”

Young, 19, pled guilty on May 7 to attempted first-degree murder in an attack on Rocky Valentine. Judge Amy Lannerd sentenced Young on Wednesday to 25 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections, as she concurred with a plea deal between the Adams County State’s Attorney’s and Public Defender’s offices.

Adams County Lead Trial Attorney Josh Jones was prepared to show video evidence that Young stabbed Valentine in the face, neck and back in the Fifth and Chestnut neighborhood. He also witnesses who would corroborate remarks Young had made, saying he had “killed somebody.”

Young also pled guilty to a charge of possession of contraband in a penal institution. He was found with a toothbrush filed to a fine point on June 25 while in the Adams County Jail.

Charges of home invasion with a dangerous weapon and threatening a public official were dropped.

Young must serve at least 85 percent of the 20-year sentence for attempted murder and 50 percent of the sentence for possession of contraband, per Truth in Sentencing stipulations. He also will have five years of supervised release. He is serving his sentences consecutively.

The plea arrangement pleased Jones.

“He’s off the street for at least 20 years,” Jones said. “And we’ll know where he’ll be.”

Young said, “Yes, ma’am,” when asked by Lannerd if he understood all charges. He answered numerous follow-up questions.

Valentine’s parents, Timothy and Sherri Valentine, were in the courtroom. However, Sherri Valentine said her son was not up to facing his attacker in person.

“That young man (Young) is 19 years old … this was needless,” Timothy Valentine said. “Our son is still blinded and can’t work, but my heart goes out to that young man. He’s not going to a good place. All that institutional violence. I hope he finds Jesus.”

Sherri Valenine said her son no longer can work as a welder because of the damage to his eyes and lungs.

Chief Deputy Public Defender Chris Pratt represented Young.

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