Slaughter at Slaughters

Nov 2, 2009, 7:35 AM |
It is always disconcerting when one learns that a person with whom one has crossed paths has 'snapped', especially when that person is a fellow player of the Royal game. The headline of the article reads: Jury sentences Young to 16 years.
The article, by Wanda Combs 
begins: "A jury of 6 men and 6 women found Jeffrey Martin Young guilty of all four charges in the 2008 attack of a Slaughter’s Supermarket employee and sentenced him to a total of 16 years, eight months in prison.
The jury rejected a defense contention that the 31-year-old man with a history of mental illness was insane at the time."
It goes on to report: "Young, a former chess champion and Eagle Scout, felt he had to slaughter someone at Slaughters Supermarket on January 30, 2008, and that feeling led to an unprovoked, violent attack on a 20-year-old Virginia Tech student who worked at the grocery store on U.S. 221 south of Floyd, a forensic psychologist told a jury in circuit court Tuesday.Young’s attorneys don’t dispute the attack that left Boyd scarred but they contend the 32-year-old man with a troubled past is not guilty by reason of insanity when he struck Boyd with his car in the store’s parking lot before attacking her first with a wooden log and then a club when the log broke. Young also threatened police and others with a knife.
Dr. Doris Nevin, the forensic psychologist who testified for the prosecution, said that while Young may be mentally ill she does not believe he was legally insane when he attacked Boyd.
Nevin said the name of the supermarket triggered a feeling in Young that someone had to die at the grocery store."
"Young, born in Ohio in 1977, moved to Roanoke with his mother in 1988 and graduated from Patrick Henry High School. His mother, Rebecca Young, described her son as a happy, smart student who won the city chess championship three times and a national youth chess championship. He also modeled as a teenager.
The young man went to Queens College in North Carolina after graduation but dropped out in his sophomore year after breaking up with his girlfriend, his mother testified. After a car crash that nearly killed him, she said he began to change, going into prolonged periods of depression.
Young was sent to mental hospitals in Virginia and Georgia in 2003, 2004 and 2007. In 2003, doctors at Southwest Virginia Mental Health Center in Marion diagnosed Young with a “psychotic disorder.” Other doctors later diagnosed him with schizophrenia.
Young cut off his hand with a chain saw near the Blue Ridge Parkway in 2006. The hand was reattached and he told police the incident was an accident."
The full article can be read at:

Jeff came to the Atlanta Chess and Game Center earlier this decade, where I met the young man. He seemed rather 'high-strung', not unlike many other chess players I've encountered. The Legendary Georgia Ironman told me Jeff had once been stopped for DUI in Marietta, a very conservative city to the northwest of Atlanta, driving around drunk at 2AM on expired Virginia plates. Jeff, being new to the city, should have listened to Tim when he told him 'Mayretta', as it is known locally, was not the place to be. I mentioned to Tim then that, "He ain't right."
Jeff worked for Championship Chess, going into schools for an afternoon chess program.
In answer to my email informing him of the slaughter at Slaughter's, Tim replied: "My God, man! I started reading this without paying attention to the name, but finally I realized that this was the Jeff Young who was in Atlanta for a couple of years. He worked for Schneider, was a friend of Vest and Brian Tate. The man has been in my home, Bacon. It is chilling."
I have always wondered what it is about the game that brings 'disturbed' individuals to chess. I do not believe chess makes people crazy, but the game tends to exacerbate an already tenous situation. I cannot help thinking of Richard Crespo, the tournament director for Cajun Chess, now doing life in prison for taking a woman hostage in Texas and shooting it out with the police. I gave him the moniker 'Creepy Crespo' and was told, after the news of his 'snapping', that I was "prescient."
During a conversation with the local TD, and player, Steve Dillard, he mentioned he thought of one of the chess dads, who also plays, as being "bi-polar," having had occasion to deal with the "bad" side of this man in realation to a filming incident, and others. I could not help but recall the line of the song, "Needle And The Damage Done" by Neil Young: "A little part of it in everyone."
It is true that there is a 'fine line'...