Fayette County woman admits role in fatal mugging
One of the Fayette County sisters charged in connection with a purse snatching in which the 82-year-old victim later died pleaded guilty to robbery, assault and other charges.
A judge rejected the other sister's attempt to plead to a different set of charges, setting the stage for a possible trial in that case.
Jenna Shay Boyd, 26, and her sister, Brittany, 25, are charged in connection with the March 22, 2013, robbery of Mary Margaret Yourchik, who suffered a broken hip and died.
Jack Heneks, district attorney, said on Monday that after reviewing Yourchik's medical records, he decided not to pursue criminal homicide charges. One of Yourchik's daughters, Kathy Yourchik of Uniontown, said the family is disappointed in the decision, but is prepared to move forward with the cases as they stand.
The sisters appeared before Judge Steve Leskinen on Monday to enter general guilty pleas, meaning they did not have deals in place for specific sentences. Leskinen took only Brittany Boyd's plea after hearing both women give their versions of the incident.
During her plea hearing, Brittany Boyd acknowledged taking Mary Yourchik's purse in the parking lot of the South Union Wal-Mart, but she said her sister was unaware of her plans to do so.
Jenna Boyd testified she had no prior knowledge her sister would try to take someone's purse. She acknowledged the two circled the parking lot in their car for eight minutes before the purse snatching, but she said they were looking for their drug dealer.
“We were driving around, and she jumped out of the car,” Jenna Boyd said. “I never participated in it.”
Brittany Boyd, who told the judge she was addicted to heroin, testified she took the purse from Yourchik's shopping cart.
“She chased me back to my car and tried to grab the purse from me,” Brittany Boyd testified. “When that happened, she fell, and I just drove off.”
Three of the sisters' young children were in the car at the time, Brittany Boyd testified.
Brittany Boyd pleaded guilty to aggravated assault, robbery, reckless endangerment and child endangerment. She entered a plea of no contest to criminal conspiracy. A no-contest plea is not an admission of guilt, but it is treated as such for sentencing purposes.
Leskinen rejected Jenna Boyd's attempt to plead guilty to conspiracy, theft, child endangerment and unsworn falsification.
“Based on that testimony, the defendant is not prepared to plead guilty to these charges,” Leskinen said, referring to Jenna Boyd's testimony that she was not aware of her sister's plan to rob Yourchik.
Brittany Boyd, who is in jail in lieu of $50,000 bond, is to be sentenced at 10 a.m. May 19 before Leskinen. Jenna Boyd, who is free on $50,000 bond, is tentatively scheduled to go to trial in June.
Liz Zemba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-601-2166 or firstname.lastname@example.org.