Michelle Young

Clerk stands by early-morning gas station encounter with Young

Posted February 9, 2012
Updated February 10, 2012

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— One of the state's key witnesses in Jason Young's first trial admitted Thursday to having memory problems and varied on some of her testimony, but she never wavered when it came to a face-to-face confrontation she says she had with him on the morning his wife was killed.

Dr. Thomas Clark Jason Young retrial (Day 4)

Young, 37, is on trial again for first-degree murder in the Nov. 3, 2006, beating death of Michelle Young, who was five months' pregnant at the time. A jury failed to reach a unanimous verdict in his first trial in June, forcing a judge to declare a mistrial.

Gracie Calhoun, a cashier at the Four Brothers Food Store in King, N.C. – about 120 miles from Raleigh – testified Wednesday that she sold Jason Young gasoline around 5:30 a.m. on Nov. 3, 2006. He has said he was asleep at the time 45 miles away in a hotel room in Hillsville, Va.

Calhoun said Young came into the store angry because he had to prepay for gas, cursed and threw a $20 bill at her. He went back outside, pumped $15 worth of gas and drove off in a white SUV, she testified.

Jason Young murder trial Full coverage: Michelle Young murder case

On cross-examination Thursday, defense attorney Mike Klinkosum challenged Calhoun's memory and testimony about Jason Young's appearance, his height and statements she made about whether there were security cameras in the store.

She met with investigators and prosecutors about a half-dozen times from November 2006 until this month and previously testified twice in the case, Klinkosum said.

In some of the interviews, she was unable to describe what the man she encountered looked like or was wearing, but in others, she described him as having blond hair, being in his mid-20s or early 30s.

In a hearing in May, she was asked about the man's hair or whether he was bald. She responded, "I think he had a little bit. I can't remember off the bat."

Calhoun said that she suffered a traumatic brain injury when she a drunken truck driver hit her when she was 6 years old and that she sometimes has trouble remembering things.

"I've had memory problems since ‘06, because I've been through a lot with myself, my kids and my husband," she said.

On redirect, however, she made it clear that the man whom she says was Jason Young made an impression on her.

Gracie Calhoun Young defense challenges store clerk's testimony

"It was still fresh in my memory of what happened that night," Calhoun said. "I don't forget nothing like that when someone fusses at me or cusses at me."

Jason Young has said that he was out of town on business when Michelle Young was killed and has denied any involvement in her death.

Prosecutors, however, contend that he left his home on the night of Nov. 2, 2006, checked into the hotel and then drove back to Raleigh and killed his wife.

Terry Tiller, a New York Times newspaper carrier, testified Thursday that, as she was driving her route through the neighborhood around 3:30 a.m. Nov. 3, 2006, she noticed all the lights inside and outside of the Youngs’ house were on.

"Normally, it was dark," she said. "It did jump out at me."

She also noticed a light-colored, medium-sized SUV parked outside the home. It had been parked as if someone might have been moving something to or from the house, or as if there had been a party and the vehicle was positioned to make room for others, Tiller said.

Across the street from the house, she said, she also noticed a parked minivan.

Young Trial recap: Day 4 Young Trial recap: Day 4

Dr. Thomas Clark, a former deputy chief medical examiner for the state, also testified that Michelle Young, 29, died from blunt force injury to the head and that there were signs of strangulation.

She had injuries scattered over her head, neck and hands, he said, which included blunt force injuries, multiple cuts and bruises, defensive wounds, a skull and jaw fracture and her teeth were knocked out.

"There had to be at least 30 distinct blows, and there may have been more, considering all of the injuries, including the hands," Clark said.

There was no evidence that Michelle Young languished, he added, and many of the injuries were likely caused by a heavy blunt object that had a rounded surface.

She was 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighed 124 pounds, Clark said.

Defense attorneys contend that Jason Young did not kill his wife and that there is no physical evidence linking their client to the crime but that there is evidence to suggest someone else did.

There were DNA and fingerprints in the home, including evidence from a jewelry box in the couple's bedroom, that match neither Jason Young, his wife nor more than 100 other people associated with the case.

There were bloody shoe prints, Klinkosum said in opening statements, that the state could not definitively link to Jason Young, and there was no blood found in the downstairs of the couple's house or in Jason Young's white Ford Explorer.

Brent David, an investigator for the Wake County Sheriff's Office, testified, however, that he found blood on the knob of a door leading from the kitchen to the garage that matched Michelle Young.

In the state's opening statement, Wake County Assistant District Attorney Becky Holt said the couple's marriage had been in trouble.

Jason Young, she said, felt he had been pressured into getting married when the couple found out Michelle Young was pregnant with their first child, and that despite being married for three years, he didn't want to settle down.

Michelle Young's co-worker, Valerie Bolick, testified that Michelle Young told her that she was excited about her pregnancy but "did not get the reaction out of Jason that she had hoped to get."

"She did not say any more about that," Bolick said.

Michelle Young had been pregnant earlier that year, Bolick and other witnesses testified, but suffered a miscarriage after a wreck in which Jason Young ran off the road and down a river embankment.

She told Bolick that it happened when he was driving and turned toward a light in the vehicle just as she had taken off her seat belt to reach for her makeup bag.

There was also tension because of Jason Young's immaturity, Michelle Young's relationship with her mother and a lack of sex in the couple's marriage, witnesses have testified.

Klinkosum has conceded that his client was not a good husband but said that doesn't mean he killed his wife.

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  • charmcclainlovesdogs2 Feb 10, 2012

    Why don't people get a divorce if they are so unhappy with their marriage? In a relationship and single, do the same. But do leave the person alone.

  • bluetooljay Feb 10, 2012

    @Tildenann, yes they did look at the printer and found several pages Jason Young printed of different Coach handbags.

  • charmcclainlovesdogs2 Feb 10, 2012

    This lady has a short memory but seems to remember every detail about Mr. Young entering her store etc. I don't believe anything that comes out of her mouth. I have been watching it on In Session.

  • tildenann Feb 10, 2012

    I missed the 1st trial. The question I have is.. Did they ever look to see if a fax really came through? Or did he actually order his wife the item he stated he ordered?

  • kikinc Feb 10, 2012

    An italian from long island may be the biggest busy-body in the world.-Chill Out

    Please don't stereotype. I come from an Italian background who is also from LI and I couldn't care less what goes on in other people's households. My mother couldn't care less what goes on in my household, and she's from LI, too.

  • robertgiles1950 Feb 10, 2012

    This 2nd trial is amazing....they hook up is in motion WITHOUT Duane Deaver and Tom Ford. These prosecution witnesses are very well coached even down to their wording. Why have they not been asked the time and effort that has been put into coaching them...putting words in their mouths....learning how to weep ON CUE.....These witnesses have truly missed their calling for acting. God bless the victim's family. It's the prosecution who has no respect or empathy for the family.
    Where is William Barber on this discrimination case......2 trials for the white boy in less than a year...taking 6 weeks of court time per trial while hundreds of blacks locked up facing trials are being put on the back burner in hopes of sweating guilty please....especially when the last jury was in majority for acquittal.
    Please let us know who the witness coach is. That coach has a promising career awaiting in the movie industry teaching acting.

  • OGE Feb 10, 2012

    This lady is so full of it! I work at a gas station and could not count the number of times someone has gotten angry and cursed at me. I was even threatened to be lit on fire and could not pick the guy out of a lineup to this day.

  • dogwonder Feb 10, 2012

    "greg69innc & dollibug - you both continue to show zero respect for the victim and the victims family. why?- m24s

    -------
    We are all victims in this trial. The basis is utter disregard/disrespect for one's constitutional rights. The prosecutors prove this over and over with every witness they get to repeat it/agree with it. Michelle's mother and sister have been on board since day one (whether they knew it then or not). Their basis for guilt of murder is not based on evidence, it's based on silence.

  • forautumn Feb 10, 2012

    "The Gilligans are out in force again today, I see..."

    So are the Perry Masonrocks...who got their law degree from watching Law and order.

    "He didn't do it, he didn't do it...he looks dreamy!@!!! So does the judge."

  • forautumn Feb 10, 2012

    LOL....the bradiacs are here...amazingly funny....the same folks who complained about the Cooper verdict are now here supporting JY.

    Looks like folks just want some jailhouse boyfriends.

    LOL

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