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Investigator believes Jason Young killed his wife

Posted December 5, 2008
Updated December 6, 2008

— A senior resident Superior Court judge on Friday afternoon found that Jason Young "willfully and unlawfully killed" his wife, Michelle Young more than two years ago. The order comes as part of a civil wrongful death suit filed by Michelle Young's mother, Linda Fisher, against Jason Young.

Among the supporting documents in Judge Donald Stephens' judgment was an affidavit from Wake County sheriff’s investigator Richard Spivey, a member of the team investigating the criminal case of the 29-year-old mother’s death.

Spivey is "familiar with other items of fact developed during this investigation that have not been placed in the public record," according to his affidavit.

He concludes, "Based on my experience in law enforcement ... and my knowledge of the evidence gathered in the investigation of the death of Michelle Young, in my opinion, the allegation ... that 'Jason Young brutally murdered Michelle Young at their residence' is true."

"This document says he murdered his wife," Paul Michaels, an attorney for Fisher said Friday. “The effect of this is that Jason Young is disinherited from Michelle Young’s estate. He can’t take property from it, he can’t submit for life insurance proceeds or any other kind of benefits through Michelle Young.

Fisher called the judgment "a huge development."

The civil case is based, in part, on North Carolina's "slayer statute," which prohibits any person defined as the slayer from benefiting from deaths they allegedly cause. Stephens' ruling Friday defines Jason Young as the slayer in this case and bars him from collecting life insurance on his wife.

For the purposes of the civil suit, the judgment accepts as fact Fisher's allegation that "Jason Young brutally murdered Michelle Young at their residence."

"It is difficult to take, but it's all in God's hands. Our prayers are answered," Fisher said Friday.

When Jason Young failed to meet a deadline to contest the civil claims made by Fisher, her lawyers saw it as an admission that he was responsible for his wife’s death.

Michelle Young murder case remains unsolved

Michelle Young was found beaten to death on the floor inside her bedroom on Nov. 3, 2006. She was five months' pregnant with her second child.

No criminal charges have been issued or arrests made in the case, but search warrants indicate that Jason Young has been a focus of their investigation. Sheriff Donnie Harrison had no comment on the case Friday afternoon.

Jason Young told investigators he was out of town on business when his wife was killed, but he has generally been uncooperative with investigators. He spoke to them once and, under a court order, gave DNA samples.

He has since moved to Western North Carolina, where his family lives. 

Warrants focus interest on Jason Young 

Additional search warrants in the case become public on Friday morning.

In a warrant issued on July 25, 2007, detectives said they had found a bottle of Extra Strength Tylenol/Adult Rapid Blast Liquid and a medicine dropper that contained liquid residue on the dresser of the Youngs' 2-year-old daughter.

They believed it was used to medicate the child with the belief that it would have made her drowsy.

"Once the child was asleep, the perpetrator would have been able to commit or continue their attack without worrying about interference from the child," the affidavit said.

Other warrants indicated investigators’ interest in Jason Young's text and e-mail messages.

Detectives said their investigation led them to believe he had been engaging in detailed e-mail conversations with witnesses and that because he was “an avid cell phone text message sender and receiver,” he might have also been communicating with witnesses that way. (Read more about the warrants.)

In a warrant executed this week, detectives searching Jason Young's Internet accounts said they found a number of searches for terms such as "head trauma knockout" and "anatomy of a knockout."

Investigators also described e-mail exchanges Jason Young had with his sister about the case, as well as with a Florida woman with whom investigators say he was having an extramarital relationship.


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  • somestuff Dec 5, 2008

    Well, let's get real. There's a serious difference between the truth and justice. "Justice" is the court's finding, the truth is something else. Let's hope investigators in wake county are a lot more intelligent and dedicated than what durham county has to offer.

  • Tax Man Dec 5, 2008

    Jason has very capable criminal legal defense. They were aware of the civil case and apparently told him not to answer for some legal reason. Now there is a default judgment entered against Jason which has the effect of preventing him from collecting on the life insurance. Jason can file a motion to set aside the default judgment which would likely be granted and a trial would be scheduled. Don't know what Jason's legal counsel is doing here, but believe they know what tactics to use under the circumstances. The truth will come in the criminal trial if they ever charge him.

  • FE Dec 5, 2008

    "My question still is how come can you sue someone who hasn't been convicted for a murder in criminal court for wrongful death in civil court....If they haven't proved that you murdered the victim, how can they say you were responsible for the death in civil court." - TarheelsDontLikeEdwards

    The exact same way that OJ was "innocent" in the criminal trial and "guilty" in the civil trial. The legal burden of proof is entirely different and the trials can be totally independent of one another.


  • SaveEnergyMan Dec 5, 2008

    Tarheels is right. This man cannot be called a slayer, killer, or anything else like that until he is CONVICTED by a jury of his peers. He is in all likelihood guilty as sin, but he is innocent until proven guilty. The insurance companies should be able to withhold payment, until the legal challenges are decided. All of this is typical lawyer gibberish and nonsense. This is not what the founding fathers meant when they wrote the Bill of Rights.

  • anonemoose Dec 5, 2008

    LOL At Jason. Finally the true and correct answer.

  • anonemoose Dec 5, 2008

    Civil judgments are not usually allowed in criminal cases because of the lower thresholds there. Criminal charges are admissible in civil proceeding.

    They are two totally different systems, and are for the most part mutually exclusive.

    If Jason is charged, then most likely, the civil judgment will never be mentioned in front of the jury.

  • anonemoose Dec 5, 2008

    Civil court filings require no probable cause, in fact nothing other than an allegation. I can get your name and address and sue you for anything. I don't have to prove or even testify to anything. As long as the filing is correct in form and content, you have been sued.

    Then the pretrial motions start. Usually the defendant moves to have it dismissed for some technical reason, and that fails about 70% of the time. Then come depositions. Sworn testimony before both attorneys and a recorder, and providing records. Then if it goes to trial, much, much looser rules of evidence and testimony. The burden of proof is "a preponderance of the evidence". In simple terms, "More likely than not". And if the jury deadlocks, then the attorneys can agree, and it becomes what ever the jury vote is, so a 7-5 jury decides.

    Civil and criminal cases run totally different tracks, and even if they share the same facts and circumstances, neither has any bearing the other.

    MORE >>>

  • whydoisurvive Dec 5, 2008

    TarheelsDontLikeEdwards: "This whole process seems like the chicken and the egg thing. Which one came first?"

    The rooster.


  • anonemoose Dec 5, 2008

    Tarheel, these are two totally different court systems. They have totally different rules for filing actions, rules of evidence, testimony, burden of proof, and punishment.

    Short lesson.

    In criminal court, the State is the prosecutor, and it deals with criminal law. To charge somebody, you have to have probable cause that a CRIME was committed, and unless by using a citation, you have to obtain a warrant or criminal summons by establishing PC to a Magistrate or other Judge. Then you have much stricter rules of evidence. Once that case is done, proof of the offense is "proof beyond a reasonable doubt", and the jury verdict must be unanimous.


  • mrcritic Dec 5, 2008

    it's about time