Michelle Young

Another juror dismissed in Jason Young retrial

Posted January 31, 2012

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— A Superior Court judge on Tuesday dismissed a second juror from the high-profile trial of a Wake County man accused of killing his wife.

Judge Donald Stephens said he likely will charge Robert Tobin, who reportedly was overheard discussing the case in a Garner restaurant, with contempt of court.

This is the second juror dismissed from the retrial of Jason Young, who is charged with first-degree murder in the Nov. 3, 2006, beating death of his wife. Michelle Young, 29, was found on the floor of a bedroom in the couple's Wake County home.

Last week, Stephens dismissed another juror, along with a woman in the jury pool, for posting comments about serving on the jury on an Internet message board.

The judge has repeatedly told jurors and potential jurors not to talk about the case or read or watch news accounts of it, including online posts. He has said jurors need not only to be unbiased, they also need to be perceived as unbiased.

William Woodruff, a professor at Campbell University's Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law, said judges might have to issue more contempt charges and change the way they instruct jurors about the dangers of discussing cases publicly.

"There are just more temptations available to the generation today. They're used to communicating. They're used to sharing. They're used to interacting," Woodruff said.

Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens Judge threatens to charge juror for discussing case

"They just don't stop to think that something's different (about sitting on a jury)," he said. "When something like this happens, it undermines the confidence of people in the integrity of the judicial system."

An alternate juror was moved into Tobin's slot, and prosecutors and defense attorneys plan to choose two more alternate jurors this week. Stephens said he wants four alternates for the case in light of the past week's events.

Young, 37, was charged in December 2009 and initially went to trial in June. Stephens, however, declared a mistrial after jurors couldn't reach a unanimous verdict.

Young testified during that trial and denied any involvement in the crime, saying he was out of town when it happened.

Opening statements for the retrial are scheduled for next Monday.


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  • CaryMacGuy Feb 8, 2012

    What would keep a juror from looking at the news...who is going to stop them or even know about it?

  • Vanilla Skye Feb 1, 2012

    The Judge could always play a major part in shutting down live stream coverage if he wanted to and ban all electronics from the courtroom to save some of the drama this time around.

  • clintoflannagan Feb 1, 2012


    Just hearing of the story does not preclude a potential juror from serving on the jury. It depends on what the juror knows (or think they know) and whether they have formed any preconceived notions about the case. It's all about fairness to both sides. It would not be fair to the prosecution if a juror walks in the door thinking the defendant is not guilty, and vice versa. But mere knowledge of the situation wouldn't preclude someone from serving on this jury or any other.

  • dogwonder Feb 1, 2012

    If one is convicted with no evidence, than we all can be.
    Too many are being unjustly tried and convicted. Large profits are made. The tax payers, the jurors, and all of the victims lose.

  • dogwonder Feb 1, 2012

    "It isn't a waste of taxpayers money. Victims deserve justice.'
    'tigresspen "

    Wouldn't justice be deserving to us all?
    The victims are everyone effected by the shortened life of another. In this case, the cruel/ unnecessary manner of death also increases the volume of effect.
    I think it's fair to say that we all want the killer to be caught and removed from society. It would Not be fair to reign in and remove someone that is not responsible for the crime. That would be injustice, and the creation of more victims.
    The methods used so far in the arrest/ incarceration/ and trial of Jason Young have been an injustice. (finding someone they can convict vs. finding evidence that leads to the killer)
    The accusers did not present a single piece of definitive evidence linking the killing to Jason, directly or indirectly.
    How can the victims feel good about that? How can anyone feel good about that? If he's convicted with no evidence, the victims will only remain confused. If one is convi

  • love2dostuff Feb 1, 2012

    This story has been in the news for 2 years now and sometimes for weeks at a time. During jury pool, prior to selecting you, they ask if you've heard of this story. That precludes you immediately. I've said this before and will say it again: for this guy to get a fair trial it should be moved to a different county like Catawba or Pitt.....some county that doesn't border Wake County.

  • bitsyfae1 Feb 1, 2012

    Then I'm glad you care Buford. I notice you are hear reading. Just, and this is only based on what I come in contact with...people who don't keep up with the news in any form...not the brightest bulbs. Only MPO :-)

  • buford Feb 1, 2012

    Dont' put words in my mouth bitsyfae1. Many very intelligent people read the new news, perhaps they've "heard" of the case..that doesn't mean they know every little detail about it. They can be on the jury and be unbiased just like they are supposed to. And yes, I read and watch the news, and I DO care...

  • bitsyfae1 Feb 1, 2012

    So BUFORD, you don't watch or read the news? Most people that don't watch OR read the news (which is what I implied) are too busy being social or don't care. I happen to care when women are being murdered in my back yard.

  • Bartmeister Feb 1, 2012

    They are not gonna get this guy no matter how much circumstantial evidence is present. Hmm, said that about Brad Cooper also. They got him.