Michelle Young

Opening statements expected in Jason Young murder trial

Posted June 7, 2011

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— Attorneys in the murder trial of a Raleigh man accused of brutally beating his wife to death are finishing up jury selection in the case and are scheduled to deliver opening statements Tuesday afternoon.

Michelle Young, 29 was found facedown in the master bedroom of her home at 5108 Birchleaf Drive in the Enchanted Oaks subdivision south of Raleigh on Nov. 3, 2006.

Jason Young murder trial Full coverage: Michelle Young murder case

An autopsy report found that she 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.

Authorities charged Jason Young, 37, a former pharmaceutical sales representative, with first-degree murder more than three years later.

He has maintained that he was out of town on business in Virginia when his wife was killed and that he learned about her death at his parents' house in Brevard, N.C., approximately 275 miles from Raleigh.

Jury selection started last Tuesday, and as of Monday afternoon 12 jurors were seated in the case – seven women and five men. Attorneys were choosing alternate jurors Tuesday morning.

The trial is expected to be lengthy. Prosecutors have indicated they expect their case to last several weeks.

Michelle Young worked as a senior financial consultant for Progress Energy in Raleigh, and at the time of her death, was 20 weeks' pregnant with her second child, a boy to be named Rylan.

Wake County sheriff's investigators have described the crime as one of the most heinous homicides they've investigated.

The couple's 2-year-old daughter, Cassidy, was found by her aunt in the same bedroom. Tiny bloody footprints surrounded Michelle Young's body, and the young girl was captured in a 911 recording that captured the brutality of the crime.

"Mommy has a boo-boo," she said. "Mommy is hurt."

The 911 call set off a massive investigation. Detectives and crime scene analysts spent nearly two weeks at the home, investigated hundreds of leads and interviewed more than 100 witnesses in at least three states.

Investigators haven't commented on a motive, but search warrants indicate that Jason Young told friends that he was unhappy in his marriage.

Michelle Young was planning to cut back on her hours after maternity leave, and the documents indicate the couple was having financial trouble and that Jason Young was listed as the beneficiary of a "substantial" life insurance policy that covered his wife.

Other friends told investigators that the Youngs had a "volatile" relationship and that they frequently had violent arguments over infidelity on Jason Young's part.

Investigators also found Internet searches on one of Jason Young's computers for the terms "head trauma knockout" and "anatomy of a knockout," according to court documents.

They also found adult-strength cough medicine, as well as a pharmaceutical drug known to cause drowsiness in Cassidy Young's room. That led detectives to suspect that the killer might have drugged her to keep her from interfering in the crime.

Jason Young has maintained his innocence and although defense attorneys haven't commented on the case, it's likely they will try to discredit investigators' work in the case.

Medical examiners never tested to determine whether Michelle Young was sexually assaulted. Investigators had to return to the home multiple times over the course of their investigation, and family members found a tooth belonging to her while cleaning the house.

Last month, defense attorneys unsuccessfully argued for testimony from a North Carolina convenience store clerk thrown out of the trial, saying investigators didn't properly follow protocol when interviewing the witness.

That witness says she sold Jason Young gasoline on the morning of his wife's death and that she remembers him because he was rude, cussed at her and threw money at her.

Jason Young has said that he was sleeping in his Virginia hotel room at that time.


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  • stompkin59 Jun 7, 2011

    Young's alibi does not have to be "airtight". The prosecution's evidence does.

    Sounds to me like the defense is armed with plenty of "reasonable doubts", but time will tell how much of it is allowed to be heard.

    Judge Stephens appears to be in control and polished but we'll see how he responds to the lawyers as the examination of witnesses proceeds.

    It's hard not to get emotional in a case like this but the system is in place for a reason and has worked well for a very long time. Everyone has to do their job.

  • jody4663 Jun 7, 2011

    Let the evidence speak for itself!

  • tigresspen Jun 7, 2011

    Ouch! I hope wral can fix the time out on vids. Mine just did one!

  • Eduardo1 Jun 7, 2011

    hynoats.great postings.

    I guess we should close down our courtrooms, since anyone charged in a capital case is found guilty on golo.
    I still feel that BC got a raw deal. Judge should be out cleaning the streets of CARY with the ADA & KARYKEYSTONEKOPs.
    Lots were suppressed by Judge Roy Bean. Love to know what EVIDENCE proved BC murdered NC beyond a reasonable doubt!

    Because no one(so far) so Mr Young after a certain hour at his hotel, do that make him a murderer? Did anyone see him at the murder scene? I will make up my mind when I see the EVIDENCE whether or not he is guilty or innocent

  • Jenb64 Jun 7, 2011

    I have much more confidence in the district attorney's case against Jason Young than I did BC's, because Donnie Harrision took his time and made sure he had a SOLID case before arresting Jason Young. No rush in arresting someone before they fled the country and then being forced to put on a case that wasn't solid.

    It is a stretch to call someone a human being who would kill a pregnant woman, no less one with a small child in the home at the time. May Michelle's murderer pay dearly for what they've done and may her family and friends have some peace at the end of this. I hope they will be able to move forward and remember her with more joy than pain.

  • LiveLifeToTheFullest Jun 7, 2011

    THANK YOU so much for letting me know which courtroom the trial is being held in. Same as the BC trial. Let's hope we get another murderer behind bars!

  • tigresspen Jun 7, 2011

    I love how Holt is walking the jury through the marriage.

  • tigresspen Jun 7, 2011

    wral had some issues but I think it's fixed now. For a while I was only getting a little of sound. It was silent then kept going in and out.

  • jody4663 Jun 7, 2011

    Thanks, WRAL, for the sound!

  • monkeyboy Jun 7, 2011

    'Attorneys in the murder trial of a Raleigh man accused of brutally beating his wife to death...'

    as opposed to, say, the gentle, gracious style of beating someone to death...