Second jury to hear Jason Young murder trial
Posted February 6, 2012
Raleigh, N.C. — With opening statements expected Monday morning, Wake County prosecutors will get a second chance to prove beyond a reasonable doubt their theory that Jason Young brutally beat his wife to death inside their Wake County home more than five years ago – a crime the 37-year-old has maintained he did not commit.
Michelle Young, 29, was five months' pregnant when she was found in a pool of blood inside her home on Nov. 3, 2006.
The couple's daughter Cassidy – 2 at the time – was found hiding under the sheets of her parents' bed.
Details of the case – investigators found bloody footprints inside the home and a 911 call captured the sounds of a young child referring to her mother's wounds as "boo-boos" – prompted local and national media attention as investigators worked to capture a killer.
Through search warrants and a wrongful death lawsuit, the investigation unfolded with authorities focusing on Michelle Young's husband as the prime suspect.
He was arrested in December 2009 and charged with first-degree murder.
In June, after more than two weeks of testimony, Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens declared a mistrial after an "immovably hung" jury failed to reach a verdict.
This time around, it's unclear how the state's case – or the defense's – might be different.
In search warrants filed since Young was released from jail this past summer on a $900,000 bond, investigators have asked for access to more of the couple's bank and credit card accounts.
Defense attorneys have also gone after files from a wrongful death lawsuit in which Michelle Young's mother was awarded more than $15 million.
One thing is for certain – it's expected to be much longer. Attorneys have said that they expect testimony to last anywhere from four to six weeks.
It took attorneys 12 days – one day longer than testimony in the first trial – to seat a jury of eight women and four men.
A medical software salesman at the time, Young said he was out of state on business and was sleeping in a Virginia hotel when his wife was killed.
He never spoke to investigators, family members or friends about his alibi or the crime, but during his first trial took the witness stand to tell his side of the story.
He admitted that he could be an "immature jerk," that he cheated on his wife and that he could be juvenile and obnoxious at times but that he loved his wife, daughter and unborn son and that he was working on his marriage.
Prosecutors, though, contended that he didn't want to be married and that the couple frequently argued in front of family and friends about his behavior.
"He didn't want to be pinned down. He didn't want the responsibility," Assistant District Attorney Becky Holt said during her closing argument in Young's first trial. "He wanted to go on with his life. He wanted to live as a single person."
He checked into the Virginia hotel on the night of Nov. 2, 2006, and drove 169 miles back to his home, the state contended.
He beat his wife with at least 30 distinct blows to the head, drugged his daughter with adult-strength cold medicine and returned to Virginia to continue with his business trip.
Defense attorneys, however, argued that someone else, possibly two people, killed Michelle Young, noting DNA evidence found inside the house didn't match their client.
There was no physical evidence linking him to the crime, his attorneys said. He didn't have time to commit the crime, and even circumstantial evidence showed that he didn't do it, they said.
"We will never know what happened at 5108 Birchleaf Drive that night," defense attorney Bryan Collins told jurors during his closing argument on June 23. "This case is not solved."