Tue. May 28th, 2024

A 19-year-old Minnesota man received a lifetime prison sentence Thursday for the murder and sexual assault of a toddler in 2021.

The sentence came after a jury in May found Lee Wayne Young Jr. guilty of murdering 2-year-old Trypp Breeggemann at a Mankato apartment on April 16, 2021. Young, who was 16 years old at the time, was convicted of first-degree murder while committing criminal sexual conduct in Blue Earth County District Court.

Judge Gregory J. Anderson said his presumption is Young’s length of sentence will mean “he leaves prison in a body bag.”

“The facts in this case were so awful that I can’t talk about them,” he said, going on to say that Young has shown no indications of taking responsibility for what happened.

Young declined to make a statement in court Thursday.

Afterward, Blue Earth County Attorney Pat McDermott said Young’s case was the “most heinous crime” he’s seen in his 34 years practicing law.

Reading a statement from Trypp’s family in court, victim/witness coordinator Vanessa Barr said the murder shattered their world and no murderer should be granted leniency.

“We want justice to be served,” she read. “We want the maximum sentence.”

A law change passed by the Minnesota Legislature in May means people who received life sentences for offenses committed when they were younger than 18 are eligible for parole after 15 years. The Campaign for Fair Sentencing of Youth advocacy group lists Minnesota among 28 states that have abolished “juvenile life without parole,” including North Dakota, South Dakota and Iowa.

Without the law change, Young wouldn’t have been up for parole in 15 years due to the severity of his crime, Anderson said. When the time comes for a parole decision, Anderson added, the court will order Young to be considered for commitment to a psychiatric facility due to the sexual nature of the offense.

The prosecution would’ve asked for a life sentence without parole if it could, said prosecuting attorney Todd Coryell in court. He described the crime as having an “everlasting impact” on the victim’s family and said Young had a history of endangering the public before the murder.

Joseph Bergstrom, an assistant public defender who served as lead attorney for Young, said he didn’t know what history Coryell was referring to prior to the murder conviction. He argued for no fine to be levied against Young because he’s been in jail for 819 days leading up the sentencing and will continue to have no means to pay it while serving his prison sentence.

Anderson ruled in favor of no fine but left the restitution process open for 90 days.

Trypp’s family said they felt justice was served. They thanked Barr and fellow victim witness coordinator Paula Garvey, along with Mankato Department of Public Safety’s Sgt. Tiffany Blaschko and detective Jason Bennett, and Bureau of Criminal Apprehension investigator Michael Anderson for being “Trypp’s angels of justice.”

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By Buffy Gunner

Independent Journalist + Business Owner | Lover of all things true crime. Mantra: Only YOU can be YOU. | Los Angeles Born | buffygunner@illicitdeeds.com