A 26-year-old Maine man on Monday pleaded guilty to manslaughter more than three years after authorities say he frightened a 62-year-old woman during a burglary attempt and caused her to have a fatal heart attack, PEOPLE confirms.
Carlton L. Young, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison, also pleaded guilty to attempted burglary and theft in connection with the 2015 incident that resulted in Connie Loucks’ death.
He is also accused of burglarizing Louck’s house the day before she died — which he denies, according to his attorney. He entered an Alford plea to that burglary charge. (An Alford plea is a kind of guilty plea in which the accused acknowledges prosecutors have enough evidence to convict but does not admit to the crime.)
Young was further convicted of numerous unrelated burglary and theft charges in what authorities have described as a string of other incidents.
He was originally charged with felony murder as prosecutors argued the burglary and then subsequent attempted burglary led to Loucks’ heart attack.
During Young’s sentencing at York County Superior Court in Alfred, Louck’s husband, Brian, called his wife’s death “an unimaginable tragedy for my family.”
“Not a day goes by that we don’t think about how terrorized Connie must have been that day,” he said, according to the Portland Press Herald. “She was a sweet, loving, kind individual who didn’t deserve this.”
Young, Brian said, was “a coward and a punk.”
“I hope his soul rots in hell,” he said.
Young is the last suspect in the case to plead: Another man, Brian Cerullo, pleaded guilty last year to manslaughter and multiple charges of burglary and theft and was sentenced to 10 years. (His attorney could not immediately be reached by PEOPLE.)
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Two other people pleaded guilty to burglary and theft charges in the case, but not manslaughter.
Loucks died on March 22, 2015, shortly after Young and others attempted to burglarize her Wells home, according to authorities, who believe the stress from the incident caused her death.
Young’s attorney, however, says Loucks’ death was unintentional and his plea this week was an attempt to resolve the case.
“Nobody intended for Mrs. Loucks to die and my client learned of it several days later, while he was in custody, and he became very emotional,” Amy Fairfield tells PEOPLE. “It is tragic all the way around.”
Fairfield says Young asked that if he accepted the plea, “[would] this wrap up everything so the Louck’s family will finally have closure?”
“I said, ‘Yes, it would be finally over,’ ” she recalls. “That’s when he said, ‘Lets do it.’ I think that was truly the tipping point for him.”
Fairfield says Young was hooked on heroin and committing crimes “to support a horrible addiction and infliction.”
“An addiction requires drugs that require money,” she says. “It is an epidemic. The opioid crisis is ruining people, families, communities and regions in so many prolific ways. Maine has been hit hard.”
The Case So Far
Prosecutors said the fatal incident began on March 21, 2015, when Young allegedly broke into Loucks’ home in Wells with at least one other person and stole several pieces of jewelry while she and her husband were gone.
Loucks reported that burglary to the Wells Police Department the following day, on March 22, at 10:07 a.m., according to an arrest warrant affidavit obtained by PEOPLE.
About 90 minutes after she made that initial report, Loucks contacted the police again and told them she believed the burglars had returned to her home.
“She stated they were banging on the windows and doors of the residence and when she asked them what they wanted they stated they were looking for ‘Billy,’ ” the affidavit states.
Less than 10 minutes later, Loucks’ daughter called the police and said she was on the phone with her mother “talking about the men being at her house” — then the phone line went dead.
Two officers arrived at Loucks’ house 19 minutes later and found her dead on her couch.
Police honed in on Young the following day after one of his burglary crew was picked up and admitted to four burglaries, including at Louck’s home.
At the sentencing this week, Justice John O’Neil reportedly said that even if Young didn’t mean to cause anyone’s death, “there are consequences to your actions.”
“The evidence here justifies the concept that when you break into somebody’s house, it is a terrifying experience for the people that are inside,” he said, according to the Press Herald. “And even if you meant them no harm, there are consequences to your actions, and these are the consequences.”
O’Neil added: “The only word of advice I have for you, Mr. Young, is deal with your addiction when you’re up in Warren, because you don’t want to be back here.”