Michelle Young

Young prosecution focuses on hotel stay

Posted June 9, 2011
Updated June 10, 2011

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— An employee at a hotel where a Raleigh man accused of murder checked in the night before his wife was found beaten to death testified Thursday afternoon that he discovered a security camera unplugged and an emergency exit propped open on the morning of her death.

Shelly Schaad Full video: Day 2 trial testimony

Keith Hicks said he was working third shift at the Hampton Inn in Hillsville, Va., the morning of Nov. 3, 2006, when he noticed a rock keeping an emergency exit door from fully closing.

It was around 5:50 a.m., he said, when he called a maintenance employee to restore power to the nearby camera. About 15 minutes later, he said, he noticed that the camera had been directed toward the hotel ceiling and away from the emergency exit.

But he never saw anyone messing with the camera, he said, and he reported it to his manager when she arrived at work that morning.

"It gives you an uneasy feeling when you're working third shift and something like that happens," he said.

Michelle Young Friend details night before Michelle Young's death

About eight hours after the camera incident, Michelle Young, 29, was found facedown in a pool of blood in her Wake County home. Her husband, Jason Young, 37, who was in Virginia at the time for business, was charged with first-degree murder more than three years later.

Daniel Morgan, another hotel clerk, testified Thursday that Jason Young checked into the Hampton Inn shortly before 11 p.m. on Nov. 2, 2006.

Elmer Goad, a maintenance employee at the hotel, said that, when he checked the electronic key access log for sheriff's detectives days later, records showed Young’s room had been accessed only once using the key. That was shortly before 11 p.m., and it wasn't accessed again until the next day by housekeeping.

Jason Young Friend, hotel employees testify in Young trial

Prosecutors say he propped the emergency door open and unplugged the camera before leaving to return to Raleigh to kill his wife.

"His plan was to be able to say that he was in Virginia. His plan was to go in and kill her, and get back out so that he could say he wasn't there," Wake County Assistant District Attorney Becky Holt said during opening statements on Tuesday.

Defense attorneys contend that Jason Young did not kill his wife and that there is no evidence that he did. There was DNA evidence, however, of two unidentified males found in the couple's home.

"This young man did not kill his wife," defense attorney Mike Klinkosum said in his opening statement to jurors. "He was not one of the attackers who brutally murdered her and his unborn son, and this case is not solved."

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  • jody4663 Jun 10, 2011

    ilovecountry56, regarding your last post, I had considered the same things re cigarettes, hair and dna.

  • ilovecountry56 Jun 10, 2011

    ok I will try again my post did not get though. has anyone thought that JY could have planted the cigs. at the house you can pick them up everywhere and he was at a hotel and they usually have an ashtray outside the door. so he could have grabbed 2 out of it and that would explain 2 different males dna, also far as the shoe size difference you can wear a shoe smaller/or larger than your own, although it may not be comfortable but it was not like he was going to have them on for very long

  • tigresspen Jun 10, 2011

    fatchanceimwrong: I agree the time line seems to be fitting. But remember according to reports, a news carrier was said to have seen an SUV that looked similar to Jason’s vehicle parked near the Young’s home at an angle, like it was there to load or unload something. This sighting was between 4 and 5 AM on November 3. Dahms said the person who cursed her was there between 5 & 5:30 Am.

  • grnpnd7 Jun 10, 2011

    Look at the picture; it was taken an hour after he checked in. His card was used only one time. So he used it to enter his room right; then went to the office..SOOOO; that means He NEVER went back to his room or either had the door propped open.

  • chauncey7381 Jun 10, 2011

    @fatchance, I can get to Pilot Mtn on a good day with no traffic snarls and no stops in about 1 hr 45 minutes. Since it travel at night, I'm hedging a 2 1/2 hr trip.

  • tigresspen Jun 10, 2011

    I like Gracie Dahms. She is coming across as very believable to me.

  • busterbluth Jun 10, 2011

    this girl makes me sad

  • lmcurls Jun 10, 2011

    fatchanceimwrong - I like your timeline but you're off by an hour on the last point. The clerk said he got the power to the camera turned back on at 5:50 and about 15 minutes later (~ 6:10am)noticed the camera was pointing toward the ceiling.

    Also, I thought about the secret rendezvous with another woman as reason for him sneaking out of the hotel, but why the need for secrecy. It's not like his wife would have been able to access his room key records or video of the hotel even if she suspected he snuck out to meet up with another woman.

  • ilovecountry56 Jun 10, 2011

    as anyone thought about the fact he planted the cigarettes there you can pick used cigs up everywhere and he was at a hotel and they usually have an ashtray outside the door, so he could have grabbed 2 which possilby was the 2 different males dna. and as far as wrong shoe size you can always put on a pair of shoes smaller / or bigger than your size may not be comfortable but it was not like he would be wearing them but for a very short period. just saying.

  • uncw05 Jun 10, 2011

    fatchanceimwrong- hotels don't turn their records over for divorce cases, there is no reason to avoid keyswipes or cameras if all you are doing is cheating.

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