Jury recommends sentence in Buchanan County murder case

GRUNDY, Va. (WYMT/Bristol Herald Courier) - A Buchanan County jury has recommended an eight-year, ten-month prison sentence for a woman convicted of destruction of evidence.

Donna Sue Justus, 56, of Hurley, Va., was convicted of one count of destruction of material evidence, and one count of conspiring with Donald Young to destroy evidence of the June 23, 2011, murder Danny Paul Justus, according to a written statement.

After the conviction, the jury reconvened and recommended a sentence of eight years and ten months, which was just shy of the ten year maximum, according to Buchanan County Commonwealth's Attorney Gerald Arrington.

Testimony at trial revealed that Donald Young and his fiancé, Donna Sue Justus, were next door neighbors to the Danny Justus family, and that Donna Sue Justus was claiming an interest in various pieces of equipment that Danny Justus and others owned through the Justus Coal Corporation.

Testimony also showed that over the course of a couple of years, tensions grew between the parties as a result of the financial dispute along with an ongoing right of way disagreement.

Young was convicted of first-degree murder in November 2012 and was sentenced to life in prison.

"Donald Young murdered Danny Paul Justus in cold blood, and Ms. Justus clearly assisted him in the attempted cover-up of his crime by exchanging cell phones with him, washing his clothes to destroy any potential DNA evidence or gunshot residue, and by lying to the police about a number of material issues," Arrington said in the statement.

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