Handcuffed and dressed in orange jail garb, Young, 44, took his place at a podium before Commissioner Laura Giaquinto, just like scores before and after him did that day.
With each defendant, a similar ritual ensued: A lawyer, usually a public defender, waived the reading of the charges. Giaquinto then entered a plea of not guilty on behalf of the accused, advising them of the dollar amount of their bail and the date of their next hearing.
The defendant signed for their charging paperwork and then headed back to the fishbowl to wait for their group of 24 or so to be dismissed and immediately replaced by another wave of orange-clad detainees.
But in Young’s case, something different occurred.
Sporting a clean-shaven head and a thick salt-and-pepper beard, Young locked eyes with a gray-haired, middle-aged woman seated on the front row of the courtroom gallery. It was Jan Kelly, the mother of Jake Kelly, a 49-year-old gay Phoenix man whose beating death in late August resulted in the arrests of Young and two others on Nov. 10.
Young and his wife Shannon, 37, are charged with impeding the investigation into Kelly’s homicide, which occurred at a house Kelly and the Youngs shared near Cave Creek Road and Union Hills Drive.
Angel Mullooly, 34, a friend and neighbor of the Youngs, stands accused of second-degree murder in Kelly’s vicious beat-down.
The Youngs claim that on the night of Aug. 27, they heard a loud noise outside their house, went to investigate and found Kelly beaten to a pulp in the driveway. The pair told police they took Kelly inside, gave him a bath to try to revive him, and then dressed him in dry clothes and placed him on a sofa.
The Youngs did not call 911. Instead, they allegedly waited 16 hours before dropping Kelly off at a nearby hospital. His ribs and other bones were broken, and he had multiple skull fractures and internal injuries, according to interviews and court documents. Huge open gashes went down the side of one arm.
Jan Kelly told Phoenix New Times that her son’s face was “completely pulverized” and had to be reassembled by surgeons. After several operations, he contracted sepsis and was placed on life support. “Then he wasn't there anymore,” she said. “So, I just had them unplug him.” Jake Kelly died from his injuries on Sept. 8.
Phoenix police have not labeled the homicide a hate crime, but Jan Kelly said she believes hate motivated the killing. Her son was gay and moved into the house with Shannon Young, then Shannon Higgins, earlier in the year and split the rent with her.
In March, Jake Kelly officiated at the backyard wedding of Shannon and Cory Young, a tattoo artist and ex-con who spent 13 years in prison for theft, burglary, aggravated assault and trafficking stolen property.
New Times interviewed Cory Young in 2016 at Wolfskin Ink, a west Phoenix tattoo parlor where he was working, as part of a profile of its late owner, Jubel Dean Perkins, and a community of Odinists, followers of the Norse religion Asatru, that revolved around the business.
On the center of Young’s chest was a Nazi swastika, which he said he normally kept covered up. He explained at the time that the tattoo was part of his past, “running with a lot of skinheads and the Aryan Brotherhood,” though he admitted he still held some of the same beliefs. His body bore a myriad of neo-Nazi slogans and imagery.
His time in prison was a violent one, with a host of major violations, according to the Arizona Department of Corrections: possessing a weapon, assault with a weapon, smuggling contraband and giving and receiving tattoos.
Trio charged in Jake Kelly killing receives bondOn Nov. 10, police arrested Cory Young on the hindering charge at the Glendale tattoo parlor where he had been working. According to court filings, he was on probation for “misconduct involving weapons,” which means he had a handgun when he was prohibited from doing so. Mullooly was arrested at his home.
At Young's arraignment on Nov. 22, Giaquinto informed him that to make bail, he would have to post a secured appearance bond for $100,000 — meaning Young could be freed by putting up 10%, or $10,000, with a bail bondsman.
During the brief hearing, Young repeatedly shot Kelly a look over his shoulder.
A victim’s advocate with the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office told the court that the mother of a victim wished to address the court concerning the conditions of Young’s release. Kelly stood up as Young glared at her. She told the commissioner that she did not want Young released.
“He’s involved in the beating death of my son,” Kelly said. “I believe (his release) would be a detriment to society.”
Giaquinto explained that she could not deny bond for Young but would require him to wear electronic monitoring equipment if he was released. Other conditions of Young's bond included not initiating contact with complainants, witnesses or co-defendants.
Young, who stands 6’1”and weighs a muscular 195 pounds, returned to the fishbowl, where he stared unflinchingly at Kelly.
Later, Kelly admitted that it was “a little intimidating” having Young watch her like that.
“Not that he intimidates me per se,” she said. “But he stared at me the whole time we were there … When he walked in, as soon as he could see me, he stared at me.”
In the V-neck of the jail shirt Young wore during the hearing, the beginnings of a large, intricate white supremacist tattoo on his chest could be seen, a tattoo that included SS thunderbolts and the swastika.
In photos posted to Facebook by Young’s friends, the intertwining piece is fully visible on a shirtless Young. It features a large number “8” on either side of the swastika. In skinhead symbolism, “88” is shorthand for “HH” or “Heil Hitler.”
Just above the swastika, in Gothic script, are the words “Blood” and “Honour,” the slogan of the Hitler Youth, the name of an international skinhead network founded in England, and a racist battle cry the world over.
Below the swastika is the number “14” on a shield, which stands for the “14 Words,” a motto authored by infamous neo-Nazi terrorist David Lane, which states, “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children."
On Young’s right forearm, also in Gothic lettering, is the word “Nazi.”
Matt Browning, a former Mesa police officer and expert in skinhead gangs who helped Kelly investigate her son’s slaying, said such neo-Nazi tattoos are referred to as “political ink.” The swastika and SS lightning bolts must be earned through acts of violence, the shedding of blood.
“Anybody that gets inked up like he is and expects to go into a prison system and walk around with those type of tattoos is going to have to explain them and tell how and where he got them,” Browning said.
Browning noted the seriousness of Young’s prison record.
“But his reputation on the outside is just as violent as it is on the inside,” he said.
Angel Mullooly pleads not guilty, gets $1 million bondAfter Cory Young’s group departed during their court appearance, another group filed in. It included his wife, Shannon Young, a short petite blonde in glasses.
Like her husband, she pleaded not guilty to the same charge, but her bond was set at $50,000. She has some prior convictions for drug possession and shoplifting but nothing on the scale of her husband’s record.
When the time came, Kelly spoke up, telling Giaquinto of Shannon Young’s involvement with her son’s demise and asked that Young not receive bond. Again, the commissioner said she couldn’t do that but would tack on a monitoring requirement for Young.
In contrast to her spouse, Shannon Young held her head down the entire time Kelly spoke, never once looking at her.
Before the Youngs’ appearances, Mullooly was arraigned as part of an earlier passel of prisoners on his second-degree murder charge. Mullooly pleaded not guilty and did not seem to know that his alleged victim’s mom was in court.
A large, lumbering man with a shaven head and a thin black beard, Mullooly was expressionless.
Kelly’s victim’s advocate wasn’t present for Mullooly’s appearance, and she was unsure if she was allowed to address the court. So she didn’t get to ask Giaquinto to keep Mullooly in custody.
Still, his release seems unlikely. Mullooly’s bail is set at $1 million. When Giaquinto read that figure aloud, a murmur went through the court.
According to court filings, Mullooly has been employed of late by a high-end Phoenix construction company. He has no criminal record, owns a 2016 GMC Canyon pickup truck and his own home — unlike the Youngs, who were renters.
Also unlike the Youngs, he’s retained private counsel: Phoenix criminal defense attorney William H. Wynn, who did not return a call for comment by New Times.
Both Youngs have public defenders.
‘Cory and Angel fucked Jake up’There’s no indication that Mullooly shares any of Cory Young’s fascist ideology.
Probable cause statements filed with the court by Phoenix police shine new light on circumstances surrounding Kelly’s killing, though much remains unknown.
The Youngs initially told investigators that on the day of the attack, they and Kelly went to a party earlier and returned home “very intoxicated” between 6-7 p.m.
Cory Young left for Mullooly’s house, which is about 10 minutes away, and later returned and went to sleep. That’s when the Youngs supposedly heard a “loud bang” and went outside to find Kelly “semiconscious” and “not verbal.”
They bathed him, put him on a sofa and waited until the next afternoon to take him to a hospital. The probable cause statements indicated that neither of the Youngs “was able to provide any information” about what happened to Kelly.
Little physical evidence was obtained at the Youngs’ house, other than “some items of bloody clothing” and a “damaged cell phone case,” according to court documents. Kelly’s cell phone was missing.
But the accounts of two witnesses presented in the police statements, as well as evidence obtained via warrants to the suspects’ cell phones, tell a bone-chilling tale.
One woman, “a longtime friend” of Kelly and Shannon Young, whom New Times is not naming, told police that she received a call from Young near midnight on the evening of the attack. Young told her that Cory Young, Mullooly and Kelly had “been in a fight” but that Kelly “was OK.”
This same woman would later tell police that Shannon Young “called her on the night of the incident and said, ‘Cory and Angel fucked Jake up.’” She said Shannon Young texted her a photo of Kelly in a bathtub “bleeding from his injuries.”
A former girlfriend of Mullooly’s, whom New Times also is not naming, said she received a text from Mullooly that night a little after 10 p.m.: “I’ve fucked up Jake 2xs, babe.”
Sent with the text was a photograph of Kelly and the Youngs. Police obtained both the text and the photo via warrants.
The probable cause statements described the photo as showing Kelly “seated on the ground in front of a garage door … bleeding.” Cory Young was “crouched down, holding (Kelly’s) head,” and an unidentified woman, possibly Shannon Young, stood “to the right of Cory.”
Confronted by police with the text and the photo, Shannon Young denied knowledge of either but confirmed that she, her husband and Kelly were in the photo.
“When asked if Angel took the photographs, (Shannon Young) refused to answer,” the probable cause forms explained.
Mullooly’s girlfriend later met with police to “clarify” her original statement, telling investigators that after receiving Mullooly’s text, she picked him up at the Youngs’ place and drove home.
Mullooly said he’d forgotten something. She drove him back to the Youngs’ house briefly, then they both returned home.
The girlfriend told detectives that she “had gone to visit Jake the next day and observed him on the sofa, injured and nonverbal.”
‘I didn't get a chance to save him’After the arraignments on Nov. 22, Jan Kelly told New Times that she was glad she attended and asked the court to keep the Youngs in jail.
Kelly said her son was the victim of a “boot party,” a preferred method of killing by skinheads in which they kick their prey to death.
She’s read the probable cause statements and said the photograph of the Youngs and her injured son was a “trophy photo” meant to memorialize the beating.
“I think Cory participated in it, and I know Shannon was there and impeded the investigation,” Kelly said as she left the court building. “I know that she was there when my son laid there for 16 hours on her sofa.”
If they’d called 911 instead of bathing him to “take evidence off him” and waiting hours, her son might have survived, though he had “some pretty devastating brain injuries,” she said.
Kelly called the Youngs “accessories” to the murder and said her son was in “excruciating pain” the entire time he was being bathed, clothed and placed on a sofa by the Youngs.
“He had a punctured lung,” she added. “From the ankle up, there was almost nothing on him that wasn’t injured.”
Kelly flew to Arizona from her home in Texas as soon as she was told her son was in the hospital. She has been trying to get answers ever since.
Kelly said that before her son slipped into a coma, he could hear her voice, as he responded to her inquiries by lifting his arm.
Before climbing into a vehicle after the court appearances, she said she’s planning to return to Texas for a little while and taking her son’s ashes with her. But she promised she’d be back in Phoenix whenever there’s an opportunity to speak out about the killing of her son.
“I didn't get a chance to save him,” she said. “I can't help him now. All I can do is make sure they pay for it.”