Jury finds Mankato man guilty in toddler murder case

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May 25—MANKATO — A jury has found a Mankato teen guilty in a toddler murder case dating back to 2021.

Lee Wayne Young Jr., 18, is guilty of 10 counts related to first-degree murder while committing criminal sexual conduct and 10 counts related to criminal sexual conduct, according to records in Blue Earth County District Court. The jury found him not guilty on a first-degree murder with premeditation charge and not guilty on a murder in the second-degree charge.

The verdict, reached Wednesday, came after a roughly three-week trial beginning on May 8.

Young was first charged in April 2021 after being accused of sexually assaulting and killing 2-year-old Trypp Breeggemann in a Mankato apartment on Eastport Drive. Young was 16 at the time and initially charged as a juvenile before a judge approved the prosecution's request to try him as an adult.

A criminal complaint stated the toddler's mother told police she left the boy with Young, who was her boyfriend's son, and a 12-year-old girl on April 16. The girl reported finding the toddler bleeding and cold in a room, leading her to call the mother who then flagged down police.

Young claimed he arrived at the residence shortly after the girl found the toddler, according to the complaint. Police said he proceeded to give varying accounts of what happened before officers arrived.

The Ramsey County Medical Examiner's Office deemed the death a homicide. An examiner noted the toddler had "multiple traumatic injuries," including facial bruising and bleeding, a brain bleed, anal trauma, and bruising on his chest, back and legs.

The prosecution's petition to try Young as an adult stated the examiner "determined there were so many contusions he could not count the number of blows that were delivered."

After the Wednesday verdict, jurors on Thursday determined Judge Gregory J. Anderson could consider aggravating factors when sentencing Young due to the particular cruelty used in committing the crimes.

Young's sentencing is set for 8:30 a.m. June 30.