Co-defendant sentenced in murder of Maya Young

A co-defendant in the murder of a local trans woman was sentenced Wednesday. Tiffany Floyd will serve eight-20 years in prison, plus 10 years of probation for the murder of Maya Young. Additionally, she will undergo drug rehabilitation, mental-health treatment and educational and vocational training.

Floyd previously pleaded guilty in February to third-degree murder, conspiracy to commit third-degree murder and the possession of a weapon with criminal intent. During the deferred-sentence agreement, Floyd underwent a pre-sentence investigation and a mental-health evaluation.

Floyd’s attorney, Dan Stevenson, said his client has been “dealt a bad hand,” noting that she was sexually abused and was bullied in school as a child.

“[Floyd] knows she has to pay for what she did but this is not an unredeemable woman,” Stevenson said.

Floyd appeared in court to read a letter she wrote. She said she takes “full responsibility for my actions” and has been involved in rehabilitation programs while in custody. Additionally, she said she remains in contact with her four children and surrounds herself with positive family members.

“I also pray for the victim’s family,” Floyd said. “I may not be able to dry their tears … but I am truly apologetic.”

Assistant District Attorney Gwenn Cujdik recognized that Floyd felt remorse for the crime. She also noted Floyd’s role in identifying her co-defendant, Jose Pena, who is currently serving 40-80 years in prison for both Young’s murder and a separate unrelated murder. However, Cujdik said a mitigated sentence would “not be in the [court’s] best interest.”

Judge Kathryn S. Lewis said that she anticipates the defendant will return to the community and told Floyd that her “guilt will live with [her] forever.”

Young died from stab wounds to her back and chest on Feb. 20, 2016, near 4900 Griscom St. According to statements from Floyd and Pena, the former stabbed Young first while the latter delivered a stab that ultimately killed her.

Pena pleaded guilty during a jury trial in August. Floyd would have identified Pena as her co-conspirator during the trial but those plans changed when the court broke for lunch Aug. 22.

“It was pretty clear that this case wasn’t going very well on our end so he decided to re-weigh his options,” Pena’s attorney, James Berardinelli, told PGN at the time.

Pena also pleaded guilty for the 2015 murder of Jonathan Martel, where Floyd was also a witness and would have testified against him for that case as well.

Floyd previously told investigators the stabbing stemmed from an argument over a man, contending that Young was going to “cast a spell” to steal her boyfriend.

At the trial, Detective Thorsten Lucke presented footage captured on Arrott Street from the night of Young’s murder. In the footage, Young can be seen running across one side of the street. Cujdik told PGN that Young was “running for her life” after Floyd stabbed her, which was not caught on the surveillance tape.

Floyd was holding a butcher knife behind her back as Pena walked next to her. The co-defendants crossed the street to pursue Young.

Later footage showed Young with Pena, who told investigators he was consoling the victim, on Penn Street. He can then be seen stabbing Young, who ran away after the encounter. It is unclear how or when Pena retrieved the knife from Floyd.

Pena previously told authorities that Floyd requested he “finish” Young or she would have him killed.

Young’s sister, Antoinette Bowens, told PGN after Floyd’s sentencing that she, along with Young’s friends and family, plan to hold a memorial on Saturday near the location where her sister was killed. The details were not finalized by presstime.

“It’s finally over. It can never bring her back or take away the pain but, at the end of the day, I feel like she can rest better now that justice was served in her favor,” Bowens said.