“In my 22 years as a prosecutor seeing a lot of heinous murders, this was among the worst,” Charron said. “Not only were there three victims, but it was the nature of the killing. Multiple stab wounds on all three victims. A very gory scene. Just the belief that a child could show that much anger or spite or whatever in killing his parents and, on top of it, his 14-year-old sister.”
Charron said as the details of why DeYoung killed his family members unfolded, it was even more unbelievable.
“A person killing almost exclusively to get life insurance proceeds from his parents, and he did not want to share that with his siblings,” Charron said.
The DeYoung home — located in northeast Cobb off Shallowford and Trickum Roads, not far from Lassiter High School — is located in a community that Charron described as “a very quiet, middle-class subdivision, with nice homes, not ostentatious, nice neighbors.”
While DeYoung pleaded not guilty during the trial, he did not take the stand to insist on his innocence, Charron said.
During the trial, Charron said DeYoung’s demeanor was “very stoic. He showed little or no emotion during the testimony of the murders. It was clearly very unemotional from his standpoint. Sometimes obviously when a family member commits these kind of crimes, a lot of passion is involved. There didn’t seem to be any evidence of that during the trial.”
DeYoung’s plan after the murders was to burn down the family house, destroying any evidence of the killings. Days before the killings, in preparation, he removed his personal belongings from his room and put them in a footlocker, which he buried near a church the family had attended, Charron said.
Investigators discovered numerous writings in DeYoung’s handwriting in that footlocker.
“He repeatedly spoke in his writings that he needed this money to start his business,” Charron said.
But it wasn’t just any business.
“He needed money to start basically some type of military confederation or army to be under his command,” Charron said.
When investigators searched the house, they found pipe bombs.
Charron described DeYoung: “He’s tall, imposing, well built, a very intense stare. This guy is something else.”
DeYoung had been taking classes at KSU and held a 4.0 GPA, although Charron said he couldn’t recall whether he was a full-time student.
“He’s very intelligent, which again is something different from what you normally see in other defendant cases,” Charron said.
At one time, he tried to enlist in the Marines and didn’t miss a single question on the entrance exam, Charron said.
“This is a very bright person,” Charron said. “He planned out these killings meticulously. The only problem is he never had a Plan B. Had it not been for the codefendant not carrying out his part of the killing, getting to the younger brother, Nathan, and Nathan escaping, he would have carried out the destruction of his entire family.”
Charron said the younger brother, Nathan, was still in high school at the time of the murders, and wanted to finish. So he was placed under the guardianship of a neighbor.
“He was barely 18 when he testified in court,” Charron said of Nathan. “You can imagine the emotions going through Nathan, who lost his family and knew his brother was responsible, and that he was supposed to be the fourth victim.”
Charron said he lost contact with Nathan after the trial, but a year or so ago ran into Nathan’s wife, who was serving on jury duty. She relayed that Nathan was doing OK, living in the area.
Nathan DeYoung did not attend his brother’s execution.