Michelle Young

Second high-profile Wake murder case nears trial

Posted May 31, 2011

— Jury selection began Tuesday in another high-profile first-degree murder trial involving a Wake County man accused of killing his wife.

Michelle Young, 29, was five months' pregnant when she was found dead inside her home on Nov. 3, 2006. Her then-2-year-old daughter, Cassidy, was found unharmed in the same room.

Details of the case – investigators found bloody footprints inside the home and a 911 call captured the sounds of a young daughter referring to her mother's wounds as "boo-boos" – prompted local and national media attention as investigators worked to capture a killer.

Jason Young murder trial Full coverage: Michelle Young murder case Through search warrants and a wrongful death lawsuit, the investigation unfolded with authorities focusing on Michelle Young's husband, Jason Young, as the prime suspect.

He was indicted and arrested in December 2009. Prosecutors are not seeking the death penalty.

How the case unfolded in the public eye is similar to the murder case of Nancy Cooper, a Cary woman whose husband, Brad Cooper, was convicted of her death on May 5.

Jason and Michelle Young Timeline: Michelle Young murder case

Part of the challenge in such high-profile cases is to find jurors who have not already formed an opinion about the case, despite pre-trial media coverage.

In the Cooper trial, which lasted more than eight weeks, attorneys spent eight days picking a jury of 16 men and women and exhausting the pool of potential jurors.

Attorneys expect jury selection in Jason Young's trial to last about a week. Approximately 200 people reported for jury duty this week.

What might help attorneys in this trial is that Michelle Young's death happened nearly five years ago.

In addition to identifying jurors unswayed in their opinions by pre-trial publicity, another challenge is finding people willing and able to serve on such a long case. Jury duty typically lasts about a week.

Jury selection under way in Young murder case Jury selection under way in Young murder case

Like the Cooper trial, Jason Young's case is expected to be lengthy. Prosecutors have indicated they expect their case to last several weeks.

And like the Brad Cooper trial, the Young case is largely expected to focus on circumstantial evidence, including marital problems, infidelity and financial issues.

Jason Young has told investigators that he was out of town on business in Hillsville, Va., when Michelle Young died.

But the state plans to discredit that alibi at trial with testimony that he purchased gasoline in King, N.C. on the morning his wife was killed.

King is approximately 120 miles from Raleigh and 45 miles from Hillsville.

Investigators haven't offered a motive in the crime, but search warrants indicate that the couple had a "volatile" relationship and that they frequently had violent arguments over infidelity on Jason Young's part.

Search warrants state that Jason Young was having an affair with his wife's sorority sister.

Warrants also state that investigators found Internet searches for "head trauma knockout" and "anatomy of a knockout" on one of Jason Young's computers and that adult-strength cough medicine was found next to Cassidy Young's bed after the murder, suggesting that the killer might have drugged her.

An autopsy report found that Michelle Young died from blunt force trauma to the head, after being struck more than 10 times. It also indicated that the killer tried to strangle her.

In 2009, a judge awarded Michelle Young's family $15.5 million in damages in a wrongful death suit against Jason Young after he failed to respond to the suit.

Michelle Young's sister, Meredith Fisher, has primary custody of Cassidy Young.

61 Comments

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  • zeppy2827 Jun 1, 5:38 p.m.

    Tarheel born--I watched the entire trial and it's very disturbing that the only evidence they had was a google map search of the area where his wife's body was found. The defense had evidence the files were planted while the computer was in police custody. Judge would not allow defense to present their evidence of it. He was convicted of Murder 1. Completely railroaded by police, prosecutors and judge. The time is here now that there are no longer fair trials and they can lock anyone up for anything, anywhere and there is nothing we can do about it. North Carolina almost succeeded in putting the Duke Lacrosse players away but luckily failed (after their parents spent millions defending them). But they did succeed in putting Brad Cooper away for life.

    I haven't been around here much because this trial has consumed all of my time and attention and now my focus to bring this story some national attention.

  • BostonCollegeMom Jun 1, 3:12 p.m.

    Just a note a BC jury member has said she would have voted NG if they would have heard the Google info. I think there is lots more to be said about that case.

    Now for Jason Young's case. The evidence looks good if it is accurate and can be backed up. Let's hope the Wake police department is a better than CPD.

  • carolinarox Jun 1, 2:59 p.m.

    I'll be glad when the real moderator comes back from vacation.

  • Tarheel born Jun 1, 2:25 p.m.

    Brad Cooper most definitely got a fair and impartial trial and was found guilty by a jury of his peers.......

    THAT has NOTHING to do with this case EXCEPT it's the murder of the suspects wife.....

  • buford Jun 1, 11:17 a.m.

    No buford, I wasn't there, but I have enough sense by all I have read from following this case, that anyone with a brain cell, can see he murdered his wife. Have you read any of the evidence, if so and you think he is innocent, you have problems
    dorindarindy

    I never said he was innocent and wouldn't claim to until I've heard all the evidence which anyone with half a brain cell would know HASN'T BEEN PRESENTED YET...you've obviously made up your mind...which is your opinion...you don't have to be so nasty...

  • dottieedison Jun 1, 10:55 a.m.

    I look forward to following the trial, a North Carolinian living in Texas. Just ordinary retired person interested in the process of Big Trials. Don't know much about the case so I have formed no opinion.

  • tigresspen Jun 1, 10:54 a.m.

    dorindarindy: I agree that what we have read in warrants etc strongly suggest guilt, including parts about computer searches but where did it say Jason was the one who propped the door open with a rock? I didn't read that- what I read was that it was found propped open with a rock and no security video was available of who used the door and stairway... so they don't have one showing him placing the rock in the doorway. We can only assume he did so unless state shows us he actually did.

  • dorindarindy Jun 1, 10:25 a.m.

    Oh yeah buford, on his computer was found info on how to punch someone out and kill them. Who needs that kind of information, and why would she deserve to be smashed in the head like that. Why did he leave a rock in the door at the hotel to prop it open, and readjust the security camera? Those are a few of the reasons I say he brutally murdered his wife!

  • dorindarindy Jun 1, 10:23 a.m.

    No buford, I wasn't there, but I have enough sense by all I have read from following this case, that anyone with a brain cell, can see he murdered his wife. Have you read any of the evidence, if so and you think he is innocent, you have problems

  • tigresspen Jun 1, 9:34 a.m.

    B Real: Reporting news is what newspapers and other media outlets are suppose to do. High profile is not because wral and other media update what is happening in the investigations and call it high profile, it's due to 'public interest' and demand.

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