Deal accepted in murder trial
By Jane Beathard
There will be no aggravated murder trial in Madison County next week.
In a move aimed at avoiding a long and contentious jury trial, Tane B. Osborne, 24, of Mt. Vernon, pleaded guilty Tuesday to gunning down Paige Young, 21, on a West Jefferson street in April.
Osborne will serve at least 33 years in prison with no chance of early release under a plea deal between county prosecutor Steve Pronai and defense attorneys Bill Moody and Nick Adkins. Maximum sentence for the charge was life in prison without parole.
It was clear at the outset that Young’s friends and family members disagreed with the plea bargain. About a dozen, most wearing “Justice for Paige Leigh” T-shirts, clustered in the courtroom under the scrutiny of an equal number of sheriff’s deputies. Five Osborne supporters sat quietly behind the defendant.
Prior to the start of Tuesday’s hearing, common pleas judge Robert D. Nichols stated firmly he would not tolerate emotional outbursts in the courtroom. But that admonishment didn’t stop Douglas Young, the victim’s father, from voicing a barrage of angry obscenities at West Jefferson Police Chief Terry Ward as the family filed out.
Ward arrested Paige Young last year on a theft charge. A conviction on that charge and a subsequent probation violation put the woman, an admitted heroin addict, in a drug treatment facility where she met Osborne.
County prosecutor Steve Pronai acknowledged Young’s family wanted a stiffer sentence.
“It may not be the sentence they wish imposed, but we believe justice is served,” Pronai said.
Sheri Young, mother of the victim, said Osborne is a psychopath who learned nothing from repeated encounters with the criminal justice system.
She said her daughter was trying to reform prior to the murder, but Osborne failed to attempt a change.
“Letting him walk out (of prison) in 33 years is not justice,” Mrs. Young told Nichols.
She requested solitary confinement for Osborne each anniversary of the April 23 murder and on each July 28 — her daughter’s birthday.
Solitary confinement may be a possibility for Osborne, considering a string of problems he’s caused jailers at Tri-County. He is one of two jail inmates accused of assaulting fellow prisoner Donald Lemasters earlier this year, following Lemasters’ conviction on child pornography charges. Pronai said Champaign County authorities will not prosecute Osborne for the alleged assault.
Osborne also married a potential prosecution witness in the case while he was behind bars.
The man’s motive for killing Young remains a matter of speculation. One theory is Osborne plotted to kill the woman after she made disparaging remarks about his grandmother and mother. He then lured Young into a meeting on Smith Street in the village by promising to return personal care items left during a weekend visit.
The two were sitting in Osborne’s 2004 Honda when Young bolted from the car. Osborne retrieved a .357 magnum from the back of the car and fired at the woman, hitting her three times. He fled to Marion and was arrested within hours, after authorities traced his cell phone.