Michelle Young

NC Appeals Court orders third murder trial for Jason Young

Posted April 1
Updated April 7

Photo of Michelle Young courtesy of her mom Linda Fisher. (Photo by Shawn Rocco, The News & Observer, Pool)

— The North Carolina Court of Appeals on Tuesday ordered a third trial for a man convicted of murdering his pregnant wife in their Wake County home seven years ago, saying a judge should not have allowed evidence about a wrongful death lawsuit.

Jason Lynn Young, 39, is serving life in prison for first-degree murder in the Nov. 3, 2006, beating death of Michelle Young, who was five months' pregnant when her sister found her body in a pool of blood in the Youngs' bedroom.

He originally went to trial in 2011, but Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens declared a mistrial after a jury deadlocked on a verdict. Prosecutors won a conviction on March 5, 2012, during a seven-week retrial.

Jason Young's appeal focused on several decisions Stephens made during the second trial, including testimony about the judgment in the wrongful death case.

In the civil case, Stephens ruled that because Jason Young failed to respond to the complaint by his late wife's mother, he conceded a civil judgment that held him liable in Michelle Young's death.

Civil judgments generally have no impact on criminal proceedings.

In its 58-page opinion, the three-judge appellate panel wrote that testimony about the judgment – as well as similar testimony regarding a custody lawsuit involving the Youngs' daughter Cassidy – "severely impacted" Jason Young's ability to receive a fair trial.

"Defendant's presumption of innocence was irreparably diminished by the admission of these civil actions," the appeals opinion stated. "This is similar to the prejudice that a jury has when it learns a defendant is previously convicted of charged offenses."

The opinion also notes that Stephens' instructions to jurors "did not explicitly prohibit" them from using the civil cases "as proof of Defendant's guilt in the criminal case."

The Appeals Court, however, found no error in two other issues in Jason Young's appeal.

One had to do with daycare workers' testimony about Cassidy's behavior, in which she appeared to re-enact her mother's attack several days after the murder.

The other issue centered on whether Stephens properly instructed the jury that it could consider Jason Young's failure to talk to friends and family "as substantive evidence of guilt."

"We disagree and find that the instruction was proper," the judges wrote in their opinion.

The Appeals Court's order for a new trial was unanimous, which means the state has the right to petition the North Carolina Supreme Court to review the case.

Calls to Michelle Young's family were not immediately returned Tuesday, and members of Jason Young's family couldn't be reached for comment. Defense attorneys in the case declined to comment, and prosecutors were not available Tuesday morning.

Cassidy was 2 years old when her aunt found her in the bedroom with her slain mother and the child's tiny, bloody footprints throughout the upstairs carpet and walls of the family home.

Jason Young, who is incarcerated at Alexander Correctional Institution in Alexander County, has maintained he was away on a business trip in Virginia when someone else killed Michelle Young and that he had no involvement in her death.

Wake County prosecutors, however, argued that the couple's marriage was troubled and that Jason Young wanted out of the relationship.

The night before his wife's death, prosecutors said, he checked into a hotel just over the Virginia border and then drove back to his home and committed the crime before returning to the hotel to continue on with his trip.

An autopsy found Michelle Young had suffered at least 30 distinct blows to her body.

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  • shd-be-doing-something-else Apr 2, 4:15 p.m.

    KAT4EAGLES...Jason Young's wife and child are dead. Are you really happy for them?

    — Posted by tiblet

    This is one of those proverbial "stupid questions"! Of course - NO ONE is happy for the wife... View More

    — Posted by Objective Scientist

    I think they were referring to the unborn child (Michelle Young was pregnant at the time of her death).

  • scubagirl2 Apr 2, 3:00 p.m.

    3rd times a charm. twice guilty, lets hear it for thrice guilty........

  • rduwxboy Apr 2, 2:10 p.m.

    "This scoundrel hardly deserves a new trial." -Geraniumposey

    I agree he is a scoundrel, but I am also a firm believer in our Court System giving ANYONE charged a fair trial. The judge broke the rules in the second trial. A third trial is likely to be good for Jason Young.

  • geraniumposey Apr 2, 11:21 a.m.

    Unbelievable.
    More tax money to go down the drain.
    This scoundrel hardly deserves a new trial. His murdered wife and motherless daughter do not get a new chance.

  • Lightfoot3 Apr 2, 9:15 a.m.

    "Jason's lawyer needs the jurors to get on a bus and travel" - Apex Man


    That's a good idea. Though they probably need to do a few test runs to see if it would help. Given the state's claim, did THEY do any test runs? Or is it all based on the numbers?

  • sinenomine Apr 2, 9:04 a.m.

    I don't know how Bill Clinton's name came up in this discussion, but DIANA123 you are entirely incorrect. Clinton WAS impeached by the House of Representatives on December 19, 1998. He was acquitted following his trial in the Senate and therefore retained his office. The date of his acquittal was February 12, 1999. Don't take my word for it; look it up.

  • misschris234 Apr 2, 8:59 a.m.

    clinton was NOT impeached from office.

    — Posted by diana123

    Um, yes he was. Perhaps you don't understand impeachment. Being impeached does NOT mean you automatically leave office. Clinton was impeached based on 2 charges. Perjury and obstruction of justice... on 12/19/98. He was acquitted in 1999.

  • wolfpack41 Apr 1, 5:09 p.m.

    clinton was NOT impeached from office.

    — Posted by diana123

    Clinton was impeached. However, he was not convicted by the Senate and therefore he remained in office.

  • diana123 Apr 1, 4:05 p.m.

    clinton was NOT impeached from office.

  • Apex Man Apr 1, 3:53 p.m.

    KAT4EAGLES...Jason Young's wife and child are dead. Are you really happy for them?

    — Posted by tiblet

    Jason was miles and miles away when his wife was murdered,
    Hope this helps.

    — Posted by kat4eagles

    Jason's lawyer needs the jurors to get on a bus and travel from his house to the CrackerBarrel, then to Hillsville, back to Jason's house and back to Hillsville and see that it is not as easy as the State of NC claims. Give them a police escort if needed so the bus can speed from Hillsville back to the house, but on the return trip you need to be more careful not to get a speeding ticket.

    Find out how many troopers were on the road that night and if any speeding tickets were issued.

    If any of the jurors fall asleep on this trip then that should give some reasonable doubt.

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