Jason Young's testimony presented as evidence in retrial
Posted February 21, 2012
Raleigh, N.C. — Wake County prosecutors trying Jason Young for a second time in his pregnant wife's slaying have evidence this time around that they didn't the first – his account of his troubled marriage and what he says he was doing when Michelle Young was beaten to death inside their home.
The 37-year-old never spoke to detectives in the five years between her Nov. 3, 2006, murder and his trial, but did testify in that trial last June – a move that appeared to take the state by surprise and a factor that legal experts say likely contributed to a deadlocked jury and a mistrial.
Since then, investigators have had nearly seven months to examine Jason Young's testimony, and they are now presenting it to jurors as evidence in his retrial.
A medical software salesman, Jason Young testified said that he was out of town on business when Michelle Young's sister found her facedown in a pool of blood and the couple's 2-year-old daughter beneath the covers of his bed.
Sgt. Richard Spivey, of the Wake County Sheriff’s Office and lead detective on the case, spent the morning going through surveillance videos, receipts and phone records that laid out the prosecution’s timeline of Jason Young's activity immediately before and after the crime.
What's undisputed is that Jason Young left his home at 5108 Birchleaf Drive on the evening of Nov. 2, 2006, stopped for gasoline in Raleigh and had dinner at a Cracker Barrel restaurant in Greensboro. He checked into a Hampton Inn in Hillsville, Va., 169 miles from his home, shortly before 11 p.m.
The next day, he continued his trip to western Virginia where he was about 30 minutes late for a sales meeting, and then drove to see his mother in Brevard, in southwestern North Carolina.
Prosecutors contend that, shortly after he checked in, Jason Young left the hotel through an emergency exit in the west-end stairwell that he left propped open and drove approximately 2.5 to 3 hours to his home and brutally beat his wife to death.
A hotel employee testified to finding a rock propping the door and a security camera in the stairwell unplugged.
Spivey said security video showed a black screen from approximately 11:20 p.m. that day until around 5:50 a.m. the next day, when a hotel maintenance employee reconnected the camera.
Less than an hour later, at approximately 6:37 a.m., the same camera had been repositioned to point toward the ceiling.
After killing his wife, the state has said, Jason Young returned to Virginia, stopping along the way at Four Brothers Food Mart in King, N.C., where a store clerk said he cussed at her and paid $20 for gasoline but only purchased $15 worth.
Receipts at the store confirmed a $15 cash purchase for gasoline at 5:27 a.m. and a $20 cash purchase at 5:36 a.m., Spivey said.
Jurors heard in Jason Young's recorded testimony that after he checked into the hotel, he left his room to retrieve his laptop charger from his Ford Explorer. On a second occasion, he said, he went downstairs to smoke a cigar. He propped the door open both times with a twig, he said, to keep the door from shutting.
He later returned to his room, brushed his teeth and went to bed. He never left the room until he checked out the next morning. He was late to his meeting, he said, because he got lost.
It's unclear whether Jason Young will take the stand again.
Defense attorneys contend that he did not kill his wife and that there is no physical evidence linking him to the crime. They also insist that he could not have committed the crime based on the state's timeline.
If convicted, Jason Young faces life in prison without the possibility of parole. He is out of jail on a $900,000 secured bond.