Defendant in death of Tahoe native McMaster avoids prison sentence |

Defendant in death of Tahoe native McMaster avoids prison sentence

Isaac Brambila

Three years probation and no jail time was the sentence a Maricopa County, Ariz. court handed down to Randall Lee Young, who pleaded no contest to abandoning or concealing a body after he helped burn deceased South Shore man Matthew McMaster.

The sentence came after several friends and family members submitted written statements to the court and McMaster’s parents, Nancy and Barry McMaster, made statements during the sentencing hearing in Maricopa County Court asking for the highest penalty.

Matthew McMaster was killed during an altercation involving Young and second defendant Vrouyr Manoukian in July 2012 in Maricopa County.

“I understand that punishing the responsible party will not give us Matt back, but it gives us some sense of justice for the loss of his promising life,” longtime friend James D. Mosby wrote the court.

“No amount of jail time for the perpetrators will bring him back, but I do beg you to give them the maximum amount allowed for what they pled guilty to,” brother Tobias Sharp wrote in his statement to the court. “My brother’s death was an unfortunate thing that shouldn’t have happened and the horrible things that followed are inexcusable. They lived two blocks away from a hospital and instead of taking him there they put him on a couch to die and then freaked out and tried to dispose of his body by lighting him and his belongings on fire trying to dispose of all the evidence and get away with his death.”

Nancy McMaster had previously expressed concerns that Young would not receive any prison time, after explaining that his offense, in accordance with Arizona law, didn’t carry it.

“It seems as long as the victim is already dead, disposal of the body is not a big deal – even burning my son with the trash,” she wrote in a May 22 email.

In their letters, Matthew McMaster’s family and friends described him in the light they knew him. They described him as a childhood friend with whom they did everything, their activities evolving with their age. As the welcoming friend that opened the doors to a new town and many new friendships. As the typical Tahoe boy who loved the outdoors and worked at a ski resort. As someone who, at the time of his death, was looking for a way to better his life through education at motorcycle mechanics school.

Nancy McMaster said Saturday via email the family was not ready to speak about the outcome of Young’s sentence.

Manoukian was scheduled to be sentenced June 11, but it is not clear if the hearing moved forward.

Matthew McMaster reportedly died of blunt force trauma to the head caused during an altercation involving Young and Manoukian. Manoukian was suspected of delivering the deadly blow. Following Matthew McMaster’s death, Young and Manoukian are said to have tried to dispose of his body by burning it along with a loveseat and other items. The incident occurred while Matthew McMaster was attending motorcycle mechanics school and was living with Manoukian.

Following the incident, it took roughly a year for a Grand Jury to return an indictment against Manoukian and nearly another year for Young to be indicted. At the time of Young’s indictment, the McMaster family had nearly given up on a second suspect facing charges.

Nancy McMaster stated in May that prosecutors reached deals with the defendants because it was not certain there was enough evidence to secure convictions against the defendants.

Matthew McMaster grew up in the South Shore and graduated from George Whittell High School.

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