Henry Young Gets 21 Years Up The River For "Savage" Assault on 81-Year-Old Man

Henry Eric Young -- who beat an 81-year-old man into critical condition in Mesa last year -- was sentenced to 21 years in prison.

Young, now 42, beat 81-year-old Gene Fitzsimmons so badly that he could only respond with moans to police when they found him bruised and bloodied in his car after the attack.

Fitzsimmons died almost three months later from an "antibiotic-resistant infection that could not be definitively determined to be related to his injuries," according to a Maricopa County Attorney's Office spokesman.

Mesa Police Detective Steve Berry told New Times in January 2011 that shortly after the attack, police found Young -- who had been living with Fitzsimmons at his home -- coming out of a halfway house. His hands were swollen and he had blood all over himself.

Fitzsimmons' neighbors said he had taken Young into his home, as they told police he often took in troubled men in an attempt to help them.

Young had been seen driving with Fitzsimmons earlier in the day, and when he was asked why he had beat up a man nearly twice his age, he didn't have an answer for police.

A couple days after the attack, Berry told New Times Fitzsimmons was in the hospital, two broken ribs, a broken nose, and bleeding from the brain.

Young was eventually released from police custody "pending further investigation," but was arrested for the attack a little more than a week later.

By then, Young had cooked up a story -- he claimed he passed out drunk at Fitzsimmons' house, and when he woke up, he realized Fitzsimmons was "attempting to sexually assault him at gunpoint."

Young claimed he performed the sexual act on Fitzsimmons, then suddenly realized it was a fake gun, "lost it," and beat up Fitzsimmons.

Then, Young claimed, he drove Fitzsimmons to the bank, tried to get him to take money out of the ATM, then just decided to leave Fitzsimmons and his car somewhere.

By the time his trial rolled around in August, the county attorney's office says Young "changed his story dramatically."

It took less than an hour of deliberations for a jury to convict him on charges of aggravated assault and attempted second-degree murder.

Young's rap sheet already includes convictions out of Hamilton County, Ohio, for arson, sexual battery, gross sexual imposition, reckless driving, and disorderly conduct by fighting or threatening, among others, according to court records.

His convictions in Arizona -- before this most-recent episode -- include DUI, failure to register in Arizona, trespassing, and using fictitious plates, according to the courts.

Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery says in a statement through his office that Young received a "appropriately severe penalty for his savage and vicious assault against an elderly member of our community."

Young won't be eligible for early release until 2029.