Local News

Civil judgment likely won't affect Young murder probe

Posted December 8, 2008

— A judge's ruling in a wrongful death lawsuit that Jason Young was responsible for his wife's beating death more than two years ago has nothing to do with guilt or innocence in the criminal case, legal experts say.

They say that's because the consequences in a criminal case are much more serious.

Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens ruled Friday that because Young failed to respond to the civil complaint by his wife's mother, he conceded a civil judgment that holds him liable in Michelle Young's Nov. 3, 2006, death.

"Nothing that happened in this case, the civil judgment, declaring him the slayer, has any effect on any criminal proceeding at all," said local defense attorney Thomas Manning, who has nothing to do with the Young case.

Stephens' ruling has more to do with North Carolina's "slayer statute," which prohibits any person defined as a slayer from benefiting in deaths they allegedly caused. That means Jason Young will not be able to collect Michelle Young's life insurance benefits.

Responding to the suit, Manning said, would have opened Young to questioning.

"If I'm his criminal counsel," Manning explained, "I'm not going to let him say anything to any investigator or to any other person under oath in any proceeding until I know the outcome of what the investigation is going to be."

Dennis Lane, a private investigator not associated with the case, says the burden of proof is also higher in a criminal matter than in a civil case. He says that with no witnesses, the need for physical and circumstantial evidence is much greater and can take time.

"You may have times where the investigator thinks there's enough evidence to go forward, but the district attorney may look at that evidence and say, 'Well, I'd like to have a little bit more,'" Lane said.

Since 2006, investigators have made multiple searches of the Youngs' former home at 5108 Birchleaf Drive, where Michelle Young was found lying face down in her bedroom.

Search warrants for the house, computers, vehicles and DNA focus on Jason Young. In an affidavit revealed Friday, Wake County sheriff's investigator Richard Spivey said he believes Jason Young killed his wife.

Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby declined to comment on the investigation Monday. Sheriff Donnie Harrison was not available for comment.

20 Comments

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  • wrx44 Dec 9, 3:06 p.m.

    Please....don't try and talk logic or convince ratherbnc....I think his whole purpose is to argue the contradictory point.

    He wants to spout legal proof, conviction, etc....

    That's not the point, and he knows it. No one here is saying the Jason Young is "legally by court of law guilty"....because we obviously have not gone to court.

    Ratherbnc knows that...he just likes to argue. Don't entertain him!...ha.

  • iron fist Dec 9, 1:25 p.m.

    No effect? Does anyone really believe that?

  • NC Reader Dec 9, 10:41 a.m.

    foghat -- Or an ultra-conservative-goofball, some man who thinks women are not equal to men. That's why jury selection can take so long in murder trials -- to weed out people holding more extreme points of view.

    I agree with you that the sheriff and DA know what they're doing and are very careful to get everything in line before making an arrest and prosecuting. Jason Young is probably being kept under surveillance, especially because he has the little girl with him. Ann Miller Kontz took a while to make a firm case against, too, and she is now in prison. She also had a little girl. It certainly is hard on the grandparents when they have to continue to be civil to someone they believe murdered their child, in order to maintain contact with a grandchild.

  • Drakula_I_G Dec 9, 10:19 a.m.

    Anne N, the prosecution KNOWS he did it. Anybody with a horselick of sense would see he did it. You get trolls on here spouting off about this and that being armchair defense lawyers, but anyone seeing the facts laid out on the episode of NC MOST WANTED knows the guy did it. There's a ton of material there. The DA just wants to get all his ducks in a row because all it takes is one ultra-liberal-goofball on a jury to either hang it over an over, or get his co-jurors so sick of deliberating they find the guy not guilty. ONCE THAT HAPPENS, double-jeopardy is in play and he can't be tried agian. The DA's office won't take any crazy risks seeing a murderer get off like that. Sometimes these things take alot of time to bring to trial. Be patient - he'll get tried/convicted in the end.

  • missparrothead Dec 9, 9:34 a.m.

    Jason is on borrowed time.

  • Anne N Dec 9, 8:44 a.m.

    I mean how much eveidence does Donnie need! Seems too weird.

  • ratherbnnc Dec 9, 8:07 a.m.

    Go Donnie Go !
    BottomLine

    Go Donnie Go!? Are you kidding? Donnie Harrison is no closer now than he was 2 years ago! Besides, his Detective is handling this one, not Donnie. I would be surprised if Donnie was actively involved as he says. It was hard to get him to even do anything when he was with the Highway Patrol as a Trooper. You could never find him!!

  • ratherbnnc Dec 9, 8:01 a.m.

    ratherbnnc-what are you so happy about? The guy killed his wife. He needs to have his tail in prison for the rest of his life.
    I like everybody

    why should i be happy about anything to do with this case? Can you prove he killed her? I have seen nothing that would show me proof. Most of the posts here are only assumptions based on news reports.

  • ratherbnnc Dec 9, 7:59 a.m.

    Congratulations Captain Obvious!
    Common Sense Man

    Nothing obvious about it! More Common Sense!

  • Common Sense Man Dec 8, 9:30 p.m.

    "He hasn't helped police from day one, he was having an affair, he google searched "knock out punch"....he's guilty."

    Has the same brand/model shoe that matches a bloody footprint, the clothing from that night can't be found, went out a side door to the hotel and they later found a rock propping it open, never asked how his wife died and if his daughter was ok, etc etc etc etc etc it can go on and on...........

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