Thursday, November 15, 2001

Trial in homeless woman's death begins

By Janice Morse
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — In a homeless campsite behind the Hamilton Plaza, Pamela Stacey-Gierach lived, partied and died.

        She was mercilessly beaten to death, Assistant Prosecutor Craig Hedric told a Butler County jury Wednesday, by her boyfriend — who literally had blood on his hands when police arrived.

        Michael Young, 44, allegedly “hit this woman like a boxer would hit an opponent,” Mr. Hedric said.

        Several of the victim's loved ones began crying after hearing that statement.

        In a case that promises to provide a glimpse into the hidden, tragic world of the homeless, Mr. Hedric said, “These people would sometimes sacrifice food for alcohol.”

        On the night that Ms. Stacey-Gierach was killed, “everyone was drinking.”

        Then Mr. Young started beating the victim, although bystanders pleaded with him to stop, Mr. Hedric said.

        Further, Mr. Hedric said testimony will show Ms. Stacey-Gierach had reason to fear for her life.

        On the evening of Aug. 17, she gave a companion “her most prized possession — a kitten,” Mr. Hedric said, with the admonishment, “Please take care of my baby. I'm going to die tonight.”

        She was found dead on the morning of Aug. 18.

        Mr. Young's lawyer, David Brewer, chose not to give an opening statement.

        But during jury selection, Mr. Brewer conceded “this is not a whodunnit,” because Mr. Young allegedly told several people that he had struck the victim.

        The jury of eight men and four women might be instructed to consider manslaughter or other lesser offenses, Mr. Brewer said.

        Judge Matthew Crehan is presiding over the case in Butler County Common Pleas Court.


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