Updated April 20, 2022 - 3:32 pm
It was a week before her 14th birthday, and Daniella Young was late for school.
When her father walked into her bedroom on Oct. 13, he found the eighth grader slumped against her nightstand. Jason Young spent seven minutes performing chest compressions on his daughter before paramedics arrived, only for Daniella to be pronounced dead in her bedroom.
Later, the girl’s parents would learn that she had overdosed on fentanyl from a pill that 32-year-old Marcas Crowley gave her in exchange for sex.
“Crowley’s murderous intentions and sexual deviancy stole my daughter’s innocence and ultimately her life,” Daniella’s mother, Sabrina, said during the man’s sentencing hearing on Wednesday.
In February, Crowley pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter with a deadly weapon and sexually motivated coercion for his role in the girl’s death. District Judge Tierra Jones sentenced him on Wednesday to between seven and 20 years in prison.
“This sentence is the highest sentence that any defendant has been adjudicated of since our office began prosecuting these cases,” prosecutor Eckley Keach said Wednesday. “The district attorney’s office hopes that this sentence brings justice and some closure to the parents of Daniella.”
Crowley initially faced a second-degree murder charge in connection with the girl’s death. The case is one of at least 11 in which Clark County prosecutors have filed murder charges against someone accused of selling drugs linked to an overdose death in the past two years.
None of the cases in Clark County has resulted in a murder conviction.
Grand jury indictment
In January, a grand jury indicted Crowley on felony counts of lewdness with a child, possession of visual pornography, permitting a minor to produce pornography, child abuse and sale of a controlled substance. The grand jury declined to indict Crowley on the murder charge, but prosecutors filed a separate murder charge in hopes of holding a preliminary hearing in front of a justice of the peace.
Because of Crowley’s guilty plea, which he entered the day his preliminary hearing was scheduled to take place, the other charges are set to be dismissed, court records show.
Although fentanyl has not been considered a deadly weapon in similar overdose cases, Keach said prosecutors agreed to the enhancement for Crowley “in order to obtain a higher stipulated sentence for the purposes of this plea.”
Police have said that Crowley sold cocaine, ecstasy and Percocet through Snapchat. On Sept. 5, he messaged Daniella, who was a student at Rogich Middle School in Summerlin, about “percs,” and she said: “I’ll (hit you up) when I get money,” according to Crowley’s arrest report.
Over the next month, indecent photos and videos of Daniella were sent to Crowley over Snapchat in exchange for drugs, police said. At the time of his arrest, Crowley told police he thought the girl was 17.
Daniella’s death was ruled an accident from fentanyl toxicity, the Clark County coroner’s office said. Other significant conditions of her death were recent cocaine and methamphetamine use. She also was found to have THC and alcohol in her system, according to a copy of her autopsy report obtained by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
“This is a remarkably sad case for all involved,” Crowley’s defense attorney, Craig Mueller, said Wednesday.
Speaking to the judge before he was sentenced, Crowley said he was “remorseful about the situation.”
“I’m baffled by everything that happened, and I just don’t have any other excuse,” he said.
A ‘zest for living’
Standing next to a photo of a smiling Daniella, her mother told the judge on Wednesday that the girl was a miracle. Sabrina Young said she desperately wanted to be a mother, and Daniella was born with the help of a surrogate after she had suffered multiple miscarriages.
For 13 years, Sabrina Young was a full-time, stay-at-home mom. Growing up, Daniella dreamed of becoming a forensic psychologist and learning to drive a Jeep, her dream car.
Now that her only child is gone, Sabrina Young said she feels like her heart “has been trampled on.”
“Marcas Crowley chose to take my daughter’s life with a single pill — a life that had been young, vibrant and filled with a zest for living,” the mother said.
Sabrina Young also called Crowley a “danger to our Las Vegas community.”
Jason Young told the judge that he is haunted by the memories of finding his daughter’s body. He said sentencing Crowley to a maximum of 20 years in prison would be justice for Daniella and his family.
“Fentanyl is an epidemic that’s killing our youth. It’s on the news constantly,” the father said. “As the dealer of this poison, Marcas Crowley’s sentence must reflect the severity of his crimes.”