Remembering Laura Young

Loujack Cafe was convicted, earlier this week, of the first degree murder of 82-year-old Hamilton man George Burnett. He still faces attempted murder and aggravated assault charges that will go before the courts next year, in connection with other Hamilton attacks in 2011.

But Cafe is also still accused in one murder that may never be prosecuted.

38-year old Laura Young’s body was found in February of 2011, 7 months before George Burnett was killed. Police believe the same man, Loujack Cafe, was responsible for both fatal stabbings. But some evidence was disallowed during a preliminary hearing, and there may not be enough left to prosecute Cafe for Young’s death. So her family attended the Burnett trial to get closure, and remember the woman they say was much more than a panhandler

Laura Young liked yellow and she liked happy faces. She was buried in Cambridge, where she grew up, and where her mother and sister can still visit.

Laura was born in 1972 and she grew up with mental disabilities.

“Laura functioned, academically, maybe grade 2. Socially she was that teen girl that always wanted to fit in, and didn’t.” explained her sister Shelley Underhill.

Most days, Laura Young went downtown Hamilton to panhandle. Not because she needed the money, she had a disability income. But she felt accepted by the people in the panhandling community. She wasn’t homeless. She lived on Hamilton mountain in a group home on Concession Street, where her memory still puts a smile on people’s faces, and she is still missed.

Her mother laminated a bus transfer from her last visit to see Laura. It was boxing day and she bought her a leather jacket.

Laura was wearing that leather jacket when her body was found less than 2 months later, in a snow bank and covered with road salt and trash bins. Loujack Cafe was charged with her murder almost a year later, after he confessed to killing his neighbour George Burnett.

Her sister believes Cafe killed Laura, even if he doesn’t ever face that charge in court. “He confessed. That confession is not admissable.”

She watched Cafe testify at the Burnett trial and got this impression of him. “Very calculating, very manipulative. I didn’t believe his story that he hears voices or any of that. Like the crown said, he was trying to get away with murder.”

She says her sister was always the target of bullies. Cafe was the worst of them. “I was at the prelim so I heard the other victims testimonies and they were all vulnerable people. I think he would pick and choose who he thought deserved to be here and who didn’t. And he would execute accordingly.”

Cafe will be back in court next February to face other charges, including random stabbings like one caught on security video.

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