Michelle Young

Jason Young refused to talk to police, slain wife's sister testifies

Posted February 8, 2012

— The sister of Michelle Young testified in her former brother-in-law's murder trial Tuesday that she went back and forth between him and sheriff's investigators, urging him to speak to them the night his wife's body was found in the couple's Wake County home.

But Jason Young never did.

Jason Young murder trial Full coverage: Michelle Young murder case

"(I told investigators) that he wanted to have an attorney before he would speak to them," Meredith Fisher said.

Expected to take the stand for a third day Wednesday in Jason Young's retrial, Fisher said Young and some of his family members had just arrived at her Fuquay-Varina home after a business trip on the evening of Nov. 3, 2006, when police knocked on her door.

"They wanted to talk to us. They wanted to talk to Jason – to ask questions," Fisher told Wake County Assistant District Attorney Becky Holt.

Meredith Fisher, Linda Fisher Images: Jason Young retrial

"What was your response?" Holt asked.

"Ask away," Fisher said.

But Jason Young did not want to, she said. He had been in the bedroom with his sleeping 2-year-old daughter, whom Fisher found earlier that day hiding beneath the covers of her father's bed while her pregnant mother lay dead in a pool of blood on the floor.

"I went back in my bedroom and told him that police were there and wanted to talk to him. He stayed in the bedroom and said, 'No,'" Fisher said. "I went back to the police and said, 'He said no.'"

The back-and-forth went on for some time, she recalled. At one point, she said, the two were on the back porch of Fisher's house talking about what had happened that day.

"We hugged at a point," she said, adding that Jason appeared to be sobbing. "When he pulled away, his face wasn't wet. His eyes weren't bloodshot. I did not see one tear … I left with a bad taste in my mouth after that conversation."

Holt said in opening statements on Monday that Jason Young, even after he got an attorney, never talked to investigators, family or friends about his wife's death and never asked about how the investigation was progressing.

In fact, Holt said, he gave up custody of his daughter to Fisher and defaulted on a wrongful death lawsuit to keep from having to answer questions.

The state claims that Jason Young traveled to Virginia on the night of Nov. 2, 2006, checked into a hotel and left about an hour later left through an emergency exit that he left propped open. He returned home, killed his wife, and drove through the night back to the hotel.

Jason Young finally talked about what he was doing during his hotel stay, Holt said, when he took the stand June 22, 2011, during his first murder trial – a move that some legal experts say contributed to the hung jury that forced a judge to declare a mistrial.

"He answered those questions 1,693 days after his wife's murder. When he answered those questions, what he said was that he did not kill his wife and that when he went outside the hotel, it was for the purpose of smoking a cigar," Holt told jurors. "(After 1,693 days), that is what he tells. How in any way would that have been incriminating?"

Jason Young's defense attorneys say that despite there being no physical evidence linking him to the crime, that investigators "focused on him like a laser" and that because the case "got blown up in the media," that their client "simply shut down and kept to himself."

"He didn't talk to anybody," attorney Mike Klinkosum said during opening statements. "He followed his lawyer's advice."

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  • lawgrl77 Feb 8, 2012

    Thanks abyleab, I'm familiar with the Miranda case, but what I was actually curious about was whether NC allowed prosecutors to introduce evidence and/or comment on a defendant's pre-miranda silence (all states protect post-miranda silence)? In FL the rule is that prosecutors can not comment on either pre- or post-miranda silence. However, some Federal circuit courts have held that prosecutors can comment on a defendant's pre-miranda silence as evidence of their guilt. I know that some states follow the federal rule but wasn't sure if NC is one of them. But, honestly, I don't really know that it matters too much in this case b/c it looks like the prosecutor commented on both anyway.

    Does anyone know if his attorney moved for a mistrial?

  • fromageball Feb 8, 2012

    "If you're on their list, they WON'T cross you off and look elsewhere. They'll just use what they can, and toss the rest."

    They didn't cross Jason off the list even though there is no evidence that he ever left the hotel grounds, there is unidentified DNA and two sets of foot prints, along with a clump of hair in Michelle's hand that did not match Jason.

    As for the "evidence" they've got...

    Look, if you go up and down the highway asking everyone "have you seen this man" SOMEONE is going to say they saw him. People want to have seen him. They want to help. I wonder if there have been any studies on that sort of eyewitness bias. I'll volunteer to be the first subject - they can take my picture and ask 100 random gas station clerks if they've seen me. I bet at least one or two will say they have and they may even have a story about me like the clerk in this case.

  • abylelab -BT- Feb 8, 2012

    ++. Does anyone know what NC says about prosecutors commenting on a defendant's right to remain silent (FL does tend to be particuarly strict)?
    lawgrl77++

    it is a supreme court ruling, it applies everywhere. the prosecutor should not have said it all. it is grounds for an appeal, if it can be linked to a guilty verdict.

  • justincaseur2 Feb 8, 2012

    The dude is clearly guilty of something, probably the murder. Just convict and stop wasting the taxpayers money.

  • lawgrl77 Feb 8, 2012

    I'm really troubled by some of the prosecutor's comments, especially in opening statements (and this is in no way a reflection of my opinion of the defendant's guilt or innocence, just concern about possible issues if there is a conviction). I don't know what the law in NC says about it, but here in Florida a prosecutor absolutely can not comment, in any way, on an accused's right to remain silent. For example, if this trial were happening in FL, the prosecutor's comments about the defendant taking 1,693 days to answer questions about his wife's murder and her comments about him not talking to investigators about the murder would be reversable error if the defendant was found guilty (in fact, I've seen almost identical statements made by a prosecutor here overturn a DUI manslaughter conviction on appeal). Does anyone know what NC says about prosecutors commenting on a defendant's right to remain silent (FL does tend to be particuarly strict)?

  • Grandpeople Feb 8, 2012

    He says that he was a bad husband. I think he is probably guilty and his parents helped with the cover up. That said, he is innocent until PROVEN guilty. If I were in the same place, I don't know what I would do. One thing I do know, I would not kill my husband. I would divorce him before any thing like that would take place. If for no other reason, my children. If I didn't want them, I am sure my parents would. Since I am the grandmother of two wonderful grandchildren, I would raise them and not think anything of it - just love them.

  • abylelab -BT- Feb 8, 2012

    ++Let's just ask the forum if anyone that has been a suspect or treated as a suspect by the police, just how much fun they had? Furthermore, after having this blissful experience, would you advise others to go and have the same enjoyable time?
    dogwonder++

    yes, i've been a suspect and been treated as a suspect by the police. my experiences in new york were not all horrible, but down here the experience was ridiculous. i was the VICTIM, and got treated like the CRIMINAL!!!!

    never, ever, ever talk to them. make them get a warrant, and wait for your lawyer! and, then, don't even speak to them with a lawyer, have him/her get you released.

  • dogwonder Feb 8, 2012

    " If I were the prime suspect, I would do anything and everything I could to help the police find the real killer so I would be off the hook" - anti-Mako II

    ----------

    I find it hilarious when people say "this is what I would do" when they have zero experience in the situation they are referring to.

    Let's just ask the forum if anyone that has been a suspect or treated as a suspect by the police, just how much fun they had?
    Furthermore, after having this blissful experience, would you advise others to go and have the same enjoyable time?

  • fromageball Feb 8, 2012

    "Who had motive in this case? A robber who breaks in and steals nothing, yet savagely beats a woman more than 30 times?"

    Could have been someone(stranger or not) who had been watching Michelle and knew that she was home alone w/ her young daughter. Could have been planning to rape her without stealing anything, but then she put up a fight. It happens.

  • abylelab -BT- Feb 8, 2012

    ++Who had motive in this case? A robber who breaks in and steals nothing, yet savagely beats a woman more than 30 times? Motive maybe to beat her, but not in that manner. Yet this savage person would then clean the little girl's feet?
    anti-Mako II++

    we may never know who else had a motive, since the police have not investigated it.

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