Bail denied: Wells man charged with fatally shooting 2-year-old niece to remain in jail

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WELLS, Maine — A judge has rejected bail for Andrew Huber Young, who is charged with shooting and killing his 2-year-old niece during a family argument at his home on Crediford Road in May.

Superior Court Justice Richard Mulhern ordered Wednesday that Huber Young continue to be held without bail at York County Jail in Alfred. Mulhern’s decision follows a July 29 bail hearing.

Mulhern said there is probable cause Huber Young “committed intentional or knowing murder.”

The judge agreed with the state’s argument probable cause shows that Huber Young committed the offense of murder under the “doctrine of transferred intent.”

“If a party intends to murder a person but, through their conduct, instead murders another, then transferred intent permits a charge of intentional murder,” Mulhern wrote.

Andrew Huber Young, 19, with his attorney during a bail hearing Friday, Juy 29, 2022, in York County Superior Court in Alfred, Maine. Huber Young is charged with murder in the shooting death of 22-month-old Octavia Huber Young.
Andrew Huber Young, 19, with his attorney during a bail hearing Friday, Juy 29, 2022, in York County Superior Court in Alfred, Maine. Huber Young is charged with murder in the shooting death of 22-month-old Octavia Huber Young.

Specifically, Mulhern wrote, the court found cause to believe that Huber Young had intended to or knowingly attempted to murder his brother, Ethan, but instead murdered his niece, Octavia.

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Mulhern had to determine whether there was probable cause for a capital crime under Maine state law, which would deny Huber Young’s right to bail. Capital punishment was abolished in Maine, but the standard for capital punishment is still used to guide criminal cases, Mulhern said at the hearing.

What led to the charges

Huber Young and his brother had been arguing — in person and through texts — all day on Saturday, May 21, according to court documents. Tensions began that morning during an argument about a T-shirt. They culminated when Huber Young stood on the outdoor deck of the family home late that afternoon, aimed a gun he had stolen from his father, and fired two to four bullets through the front door's window at his brother, who was inside.

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Ethan was shot in the shoulder, while he was holding his daughter, Octavia. The bullet shot through the toddler’s left arm and pierced her chest. She died approximately 90 minutes later at Maine Medical Center in Portland.

Ethan was treated at York Hospital for non-life-threatening injuries and released. So too was the brothers’ father, Mark, who got shot in the face. Huber Young also is facing charges related to these injuries.

Andrew Huber Young, 19, looks back at family members Friday, Juy 29, 2022 in York County Superior Court in Alfred, Maine. Huber Young is charged with murder in the shooting death of his 22-month-old niece, Octavia Huber Young.
Andrew Huber Young, 19, looks back at family members Friday, Juy 29, 2022 in York County Superior Court in Alfred, Maine. Huber Young is charged with murder in the shooting death of his 22-month-old niece, Octavia Huber Young.

The brothers’ mother, Candace, was not injured in the incident – according to court records, Huber Young opened fire after he saw her duck.

After the shooting, as Mark, Candace, Ethan and Octavia rushed to the hospital, Huber Young drove to the Wells Police Department and, according to court documents, told the dispatcher, “I (expletive) up and accidentally shot at my (expletive) family.”

He was arrested the next day and arraigned two days later. Weeks later, he pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.

Judge sides with state in denying bail

According to the order, Huber Young admitted to authorities that he intended to shoot his brother and was aware that doing so could have resulted in death. Huber Young later claimed to authorities that he did not intend to kill his brother.

“The court does not credit that later self-serving statement,” Mulhern wrote. “Rather, the court infers Huber Young’s intent from his actions.”

During the hearing in late July, Assistant Attorney General Megan Elam argued that the court should not grant Huber Young bail as a matter of discretion. Given the nature of the crime, and the potential sentence of between 25 years and life in prison, Huber Young would have an incentive to flee, the state said. Furthermore, the state argued, Huber Young, if bailed, could only be released to his family – some of whom are witnesses or victims in the case. The state also said Huber Young had acknowledged to authorities a long history of anger issues and a “hairpin trigger.”

Attorney David Bobrow, representing Huber Young, argued his client had no intention of killing anyone when he fired through the front door’s window of his home. Bobrow noted that when Huber Young turned himself into police after the shooting, he asked, “Is everyone still OK, everyone alive?”

“From the beginning, this case has been an absolutely tragic mistake,” Bobrow said to Mulhern.

In the end, Mulhern agreed with the state.

“The court agrees with the state’s concerns and exercises its discretion to deny bail,” Mulhern wrote at the end of his order.

Mulhern’s decision was one Octavia’s grandmother, Deborah Higgins, had been hoping for. After the bail hearing a couple of weeks ago, Higgins stood outside the courthouse with her daughter, Samantha, Octavia’s mother, and held up a picture of her granddaughter.

“This is the little girl that’s life was taken by a heartless monster,” Higgins said. “I want him to stay in jail where he belongs . . . As long as I have breath in me, I’m going to stay fighting that he stays in jail.”

Reporter Max Sullivan contributed to this article.

This article originally appeared on Portsmouth Herald: Andrew Huber Young charged with shooting niece in Wells ME denied bail