Local News

Jason Young won't face death penalty in wife's beating death

Posted August 26, 2010
Updated April 26, 2011

— Wake County prosecutors announced Thursday that they won't seek the death penalty against a Raleigh man when he goes to trial for the November 2006 beating death his pregnant wife.

Jason Young, 35, was arrested in December on a first-degree murder charge in the death of Michelle Young, 29, who was five months' pregnant when she was beaten inside the couple's Wake County home on Nov. 3, 2006.

"The state will be filing notice that in our discretion we have decided to proceed non-capitally in this case," said Assistant District Attorney Howard Cummings Thursday.

Chief Resident Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens appointed himself to hear the case, which is scheduled to begin May 16, 2011.

Investigators haven't offered a motive for the killing, but in search warrants, investigators have described the couple's marriage as a "volatile" relationship that included violent arguments and infidelity on his part.

According to search warrants in the case, he told investigators he was out of town on business when his wife was killed. Michelle Young's sister, Meredith Fisher, found her body after he asked her to go to the couple's home to retrieve a fax.

Testifying during a wrongful death hearing last year, sheriff's investigator R.C. Spivey called the slaying "particularly brutal."

An autopsy found she died from blunt force trauma to the head after being hit at least 10 times. The report also suggests that her killer tried to strangle her before beating her to death.

"(It was) the most severe physical beating I've ever seen someone encounter," he said. "This [was] pretty extreme, a pretty vicious attack that she underwent."

Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison won't say why it took more than three years to arrest Jason Young, only that the arrest had been "a long time coming" and that such domestic cases "take time."

Last year, a Wake County judge awarded Michelle Young's family $15.5 million in damages in a wrongful death suit against him.

Fisher has primary custody of the Youngs' daughter, Cassidy, who was 2 years old when she was found in the same room with her mother's body.


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  • JustOneGodLessThanU Aug 30, 2010

    “Please show me where I said we should kill more people in a more brutal manner.” – weaver52000


    “Maybe if we were more harsher [sic] in our punishments...” – weaver52000, August 27, 2010 10:36 a.m.

    And, this is from someone who LIKES that we kill people...as an example that it’s not ok to kill people. ;-)

    Ah, yes...it’s completely mentally congruent. Not.

    No...it just makes you, a so-called “pro lifer”, a hypocrite and a killer.

  • weaver52000 Aug 27, 2010

    Please show me where I said we should kill more people in a more brutal manner. And yes I do believe in pro-life. I believe the innocent should live and those guilty of brutaly murdering someone should die. Why do you continue to argue with me. I know I could never pursuade you to feel differently and you can not pursuade me. I stated my opionion and that's all.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Aug 27, 2010

    Thanks, weaver520000, for showing us, again, your complete and total hypocritical stance of the so-called “pro-life” people who are often the biggest advocates of killing people. You even followed it up with more hypocrisy when you said something like “if we kill more people and do it in a more brutal manner (like Saudi Arabia), we’ll have a more peaceful society”. Yer brilliant, I tell ya. ;-)

    Yep...you can SAY you’re not a hypocrite, but that just means that you don’t know the definition of the word. (FYI, it’s when you say or do one thing and then say or do something contrary...like “I’m pro life. Hey everyone, let’s go lynch that guy!”)

    And, if you think that the death penalty is a deterrant, you may want to look at Texas. They kill more prisoners than anyone (double?), yet their murder rate is much higher than the national average. So, if anything, the death penalty can be shown to INCREASE the murder rate. Check out Penn & Teller’s Bullshoot tv

  • rgm1266 Aug 27, 2010

    Topsail Girl - Where in the article does it mention (The DA and Assistant DA's decided against the death penalty at the request of Michelle's mother and sister (Linda and Meredith)? Please fact check.

  • Topsail Girl Aug 27, 2010

    rgm1266 - The DA and Assistant DA's decided against the death penalty at the request of Michelle's mother and sister (Linda and Meredith). Now there are probably other reasons as well but I know the 2 of them did not want the death penalty.

    TrueBlueRep - Jason was hiding at his mommy's house in Brevard NC - home of the famous white squirrel celebration or some such.

    Nanny & TrueBlueRep - I you want to help teh fetal homicide law make it in NC then please google Jenna Nielsen who was pregnant and killed across from the farmers market shortly before Michelle was murdered. Her father and Michelle's mom are huge advocates and they/we need all the help we can get.

  • axford Aug 27, 2010

    It's all political. Is it an election year, who owes who favors, ect... With elected officials, first they all think how will this affect ME instead of the victim(s)and the person(s)that committed the crime. I do not believe any trials are truly tried on just the evidence and what the law says about the crime committed. If we have a DA that wants to be re-elected or a Sheriff it changes things. My personal uneducated opinion.

  • pappybigtuna1 Aug 27, 2010

    They still do not have a "rock solid" case against him, they are playing Texas Hold 'Em. If they drop to a lesser charge they hope he will cop a plea and take it. With the SBI mishandling blood evidence, I would force them to make the case, with a change of venue, Wake Co. is poisoned against him.
    After reading some of these blogs, some of you have found him guilty with no evidence. If you are so good at seeing the future, how about giving me the Mega-Millions Jackpot Numbers

  • rgm1266 Aug 27, 2010

    I CAN NOT believe that are not going for the death penalty in this case. I'm a firm believer thatif you intentionally take a life, then one should be given. This person also killed his unborn child. I'm a very open minded person and like to think (or maybe I should have said hoped) that everyone is treated fairly. If this would have been someone of another race (minority), they would have decided to go for the dealth penalty. What factors determined them not to proceed with trying him for the dealth penalty?

  • IAMAmerican Aug 27, 2010

    I totally agree with Nanny in regards to the "fetal homicide law"; NC needs to get on the ball!!!!!!!!

  • kellypratz Aug 27, 2010

    and to think women in other countries are being stoned to death because they brought shame on their family for minor infractions and this man who beat to death his wife and killed his unborn baby will not face death. Unbelievable!!