It was a wild scene inside Clark County Circuit Court Monday, as a convicted killer was whisked off to begin his prison sentence. Tyler Meier was hoping to avoid prison time after pleading ‘no contest’ to felony murder-battery for landing the punch that caused 43-year-old Keith Young’s death.

Young and Meier were at the Brickyard Bar and Restaurant on February 1st of last year. Meier punched Young, he fell, apparently hitting his head on the floor. Young was hospitalized in critical condition from shortly after the assault, to the time of his death on February 3. Wood County Judge James Mason heard from a private investigator hired by the defense, who said he believed Meier should only receive probation. Sanders Englesgjerd said he believed Meier suffered from alcoholism, which led to his lengthy criminal record, but he believed he had changed his life.

But, Young’s widow, Amy, told the Court her family’s life had been forever altered by Meier’s actions. “He could have backed off and walked away, but he didn’t. Now, because of that, I’m a single mother of a 2-year-old child that has to face him every day and tell him that, because of somebody else’s actions, he can’t see his father anymore,” she said. Keith Young’s brother also addressed the court, explaining he felt the mere suggestion that Meier get off with probation was a “slap in the face” to his family.

Meier’s attorney Harry Hertel outlined a recommendation that Meier be sentenced to five years in prison, but the sentence be stayed; instead, Meier would served one year in jail, 8 years probation and pay child support to Amy Young’s child. An emotional Meier also addressed the court, saying he was extremely sorry for what happened. “The foolish choice of alcohol… always drinking, always drinking. You go to the well too many times, and you know what? The Devil’s there to get you,” Meier said. “I made wrong choices that night. Wrong choices.”

But, Mason said Meier has been on probation and served jail time, but he continued to re-offend. While alcohol was a major problem for the defendant, a light sentence would send the wrong message to both him and the public. “If it does impose probation, what does that tell everybody that goes into a bar? That if they get intoxicated…and they slug somebody, they go on probation? I go to jail for a year, maybe?” Mason reasoned. Mason sentenced Meier to 5 years in prison followed by 5 years extended supervision. Conditions of the supervision include paying child support to Young’s child until he reaches 18.

Mason ordered Meier to be taken into custody immediately, which touched off a commotion. Meier and his family members yelled that he’d be killed in prison. “They’ll kill me!” Meier shouted as he was led out of the courtroom.

Paul Knoff, WCCN

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