Michelle Young

State, defense give conflicting views of Michelle Young's death

Posted March 1, 2012

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— After 64 witnesses and 18 days of testimony, it's now up to a jury to decide if Jason Young is guilty of brutally beating his wife, Michelle Young, to death inside their Wake County home more than five years ago.

Meredith Fisher, Linda Fisher Images: Jason Young retrial

Pregnant with the couple's second child, the 29-year-old was found in a pool of blood in her bedroom on Nov. 3, 2006. Her cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head. She had been hit at least 30 times – her teeth knocked out – and there were signs of strangulation.

Jason Young, 37, first went on trial for the crime last summer, but the jury deadlocked, forcing Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens to declare a mistrial.

He testified in his first trial, but chose not to do so the second time.

The case will go again to a jury Friday morning, and if convicted, he could spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Jason Young murder trial Complete coverage: Michelle Young murder case

Prosecutors tried to convince jurors Thursday afternoon that Jason Young killed his wife because he no longer wanted to be married.

Witnesses testified over the course of the retrial that Jason Young wasn't a good husband and cheated on his wife and that they argued often and publicly.

Michelle Young wanted the ideal family life but found herself in the fall of 2006 married to a man who didn't want to grow up, Assistant District Attorney Becky Holt said. He didn't want what she wanted, and he verbally abused her to the point that she sought out a therapist to help her straighten out her life.

Defense attorney Mike Klinkosum Defense's arguments (pt 1 )

"It is a pressure cooker. Jason Young is in a marriage that he didn't want to be in. He's in a marriage that resulted from the fact that Michelle became pregnant with (their daughter) Cassidy," she said. "It is not the life that is acceptable. It is not the life that Jason Young is willing to accept any longer."

The state contends that Jason Young traveled to Virginia for a business trip on the night of Nov. 2, 2006, checked into a Hampton Inn just across the state line, 169 miles from Raleigh, and then returned in the middle of the night to kill his wife.

But, defense attorney Mike Klinkosum repeatedly told jurors that "the state's case makes no sense."

Attorney Bryan Collins Defense's arguments (pt 2)

Jason Young was asleep in the hotel room until about 6:30 a.m. on the day of the crime, and there's no physical evidence linking him to it, Klinkosum said.

There was, however, evidence suggesting another culprit. DNA evidence on Michelle Young's jewelry box couldn't be identified, and fingerprints found in the house were compared with prints from more than 160 people. None of them matched.

Even the circumstantial evidence in the case points to someone else, the defense said, but detectives "focused like a laser" on Jason Young from the onset of the investigation.

Wake County Assistant District Attorney Becky Holt State's arguments (pt 1)

"If you decide what happened before you go investigate, instead of finding the truth, your investigation will merely accept the evidence that confirms your suspicions and reject what's in conflict with it," defense attorney Bryan Collins said. "This case is full of that."

For example, investigators chose to believe Gracie Calhoun, a convenience store clerk in King, N.C. – about 45 minutes from Hillsville. She insisted that Jason Young cursed at her while buying gas at 5:27 a.m.

But they dismissed neighbor Cindy Beaver's statement that she saw a car carrying two people pulling out of the Youngs' driveway around 5:30 a.m. the same morning.

Wake County Assistant District Attorney Howard Cummings State's arguments (pt 2)

Calhoun, who has memory issues from a severe brain injury, was never challenged on her statements to police, Collins said. Beaver, however, was questioned to the point that she began doubting herself.

"Her testimony cripples the state's case," Collins said. "What they have done to her is wrong, just like what they've done to Jason Young is wrong."

Assistant District Attorney Howard Cummings, however, likened the case to a puzzle. Even with some pieces missing, he said, it isn't difficult to see the final picture. Michelle Young's death, he said, wasn't a "stranger crime" but an act of domestic violence.

Young Trial recap: Closing arguments Young Trial recap: Closing arguments

"If you're a stranger, why do you feel the need to overkill somebody?" he said. "It's overkill, because he goes on a mission to kill somebody, to being so mad because that person has put you in that place in your life where you did not want to be."

There was no forced entry into the Youngs' home. Even though some jewelry was stolen, robbery didn't appear to be a motive," he said. There was no evidence of sexual assault. There was a $4 million life insurance policy.

There were "strange" camera events at the Hampton Inn – a camera pointing toward an emergency exit had been unplugged and later pointed toward the ceiling. That door had also been found propped open with a rock.

The clothes Jason Young was last seen wearing the night before his wife's death have never been found.

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  • movetomaui Mar 5, 2012

    **Brad Cooper not only search the exact spot NC's body was found, but ZOOMED in on the spot to it's closest view.

    Claim of computer tampering is absurd.**
    ------------------------------------------

    Several things: First, NO BC did NOT zoom in on the location. The search was of his zip code in which his house was almost in the direct center. Where NC was found was only 3 miles away so of course the dump site would have shown up. Second, there was a computer forensics EXPERT who was willing to testify for FREE that the computer was tampered with. He had real actual proof, but the judge would not allow the jury to hear it. Since that trial ended I'm sure the jury members went to WRAL and watch the expert testimony they were not allowed to hear. I'm sure they feel awful. That's why you have heard any of them come forward and speak about the trial. They are ashamed and don't want the public to know who they are.

  • guanzhong cong dong Mar 2, 2012

    11:59pm def. last viewed in hotel hallway - Circumstantial evidence (CE)

    12:00am dpt hotel
    3hrs 2min google maps drive time hotel to 5108

    3:02 arr 5108
    15min to commit crime, change/bag clothes & weapon,medicate child, rinse outside
    3:17 dpt 5108

    sometime between 3:00 - 3:45 lights on, light colored suv seen by NY Times carrier at 5108 - CE

    2hrs 9min drive time to Carmel Dr, King

    5:26 arr King, try to start pump 3X, go inside, encounter cashier, pump gas - CE
    5:36 cash receipt $20 - CE
    0:06 min to find dumpster, dispose of bloody clothing, weapon
    5:42 dpt king

    0:52 min drive time Carmel Dr, King - 90 Farmers Mkt Dr, Hillsville

    6:34 arr hotel 6:35 camera tilted - CE

  • LambeauSouth Mar 2, 2012

    You sure it was Blue? wasn't the video in Black and white?

  • justice4my Mar 2, 2012

    LambeauSouth, sorry I was not quoting you, I was stating my thoughts on your post. I answered "He had plenty of time to do the crime...." I should have cut and pasted yours first. I do think he could have easily pulled it off in the time allowed. Just curious what is your personal take on where the dark blue shirt from the hotel video mysteriously vanished too?

  • LambeauSouth Mar 2, 2012

    LambeauSouth - He had plenty of time to do the crime...

    wmp8396 - Love the post and could not agree with it more...I did not watch any of the BC case....but agree JY should wear orange for the rest of his life
    justice4my
    what are you talking about? I have never, repeat Never stated that i remotely believe that he did this crime, Motive smotive,
    he hated his wife, they argued, well that keeps us all pretty much in the mix, he if pros concept is to believed then he wouldve run out of gas between the Hotal and his mom's on the next day!
    NOT GUILTY!

  • Moonlight Mar 2, 2012

    If JY did it, he is a genius with all the details and timing. If he didn’t do it, he surely has some bad luck with the details and timing!

    Since weeks after MY’s murder, I thought JY was guilty. I, along with many of you, would rush to investigators to provide any information I had to help a loved one should this ever happen to one of them. However, I am sure a lawyer would advise otherwise….just as JY’s did him. It’s a little confusing to me why he stayed so quiet and so distant for SO LONG if he isn’t guilty. Seeing the proof that he wasn’t that in love with his wife and not that happy with their marriage, maybe he just didn’t care that she was dead. Seems like his lack of love for her and their relationship is what is making all of us scream “guilty”. I don’t think the state proved anything yet I don’t think his defense did much either. We all have to send our positive energy to MY and hope that justice prevails.

  • justice4my Mar 2, 2012

    LambeauSouth - He had plenty of time to do the crime...

    wmp8396 - Love the post and could not agree with it more...I did not watch any of the BC case....but agree JY should wear orange for the rest of his life

  • cyndistevenson Mar 2, 2012

    Well stated @wmp8396

    Frankly I am sick and tired of the "not guilty" Gilligan's defending these two at any cost.

    Brad Cooper not only search the exact spot NC's body was found, but ZOOMED in on the spot to it's closest view.

    Claim of computer tampering is absurd.

    May BC spend his days playing checkers with Jason Young in prison for many years.

  • wmp8396 Mar 2, 2012

    +++The Brad Cooper trial sent a very scary message, and demonstrated how messed up our legal system can be.
    Lightfoot3

    No actually quite the opposite---just how sophisicated it can be and it can reach out and touch you for a four second Google search. Brad was pretty slick, fairly smart, just didn't cleanse that hard drive with the gusto needed obviously. Guilty as charged and now one of Central Prison's finest. Prisoner #1264179 with May 5th being his first anniversary there. As I recall reading so many posts on this forum specifically, so many of you were going to rally your monies together and contribute to the 'free Brad Cooper' fund. How did that work out. I also remember so many writing Brad would get released within a week's time, it was a farce, no way it would stand on appeal, blah blah blah. Last I checked, Central Prison continues to hold Bradley Cooper; however there are still 'rooms' available for more animals just like him. Hopefully they will welcome one tonight

  • dollibug Mar 2, 2012

    Wow.....almost 800 comments...it is now almost 2 pm...anyone heard anything? Did the jury break for lunch? I think it is going to get interesting....to say the least....

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