Michelle Young

Jason Young tells jury he didn't kill his wife

Posted June 22, 2011

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— Jason Young waived his Fifth Amendment right not to testify in his first-degree murder trial and took the witness stand Wednesday, saying that although he was not a proper husband, he did not kill his wife inside their Wake County home nearly five years ago.

Jason Young Full video: Day 11 trial testimony

Michelle Young, 29, was five months’ pregnant when she was found facedown in a pool of blood in the couple's bedroom on Nov. 3, 2006. Their daughter, Cassidy, then 2, was found unharmed under the covers of her parents' bed.

Jason Young, who was arrested in December 2009, told jurors that he loved his wife and unborn son. He didn't kill her, he was not there when she died, and he doesn't know who committed the crime, he said.

"I've lost everything," he said. "I've lost family, friends, jobs. I've lost everything."

It's now up to a jury to decide whether he is telling the truth.

Closing arguments are expected Thursday morning, and both defense attorneys and prosecutors each have two hours to argue their case.

If convicted, Jason Young will spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Prosecutors spent nine days trying to prove that he killed his wife because his marriage wasn't what he thought it would be and that he wanted to live life on his own terms – drinking, partying and spending time with his friends.

Witnesses testified over the course of the trial that Jason Young cheated on his wife and that they argued often and publicly. Common themes, they testified, were the lack of intimacy in the marriage and Michelle Young's relationship with her mother.

Jason Young Young Trial recap: Day 11 testimony

Jason Young, a sales representative for a medical software company at the time, said that he was out of town on business when Michelle Young died. He left his home south of Raleigh shortly before 7:30 p.m. on the night of Nov. 2, 2006, and drove to Hillsville, Va., where he stayed the night. He said he continued on the next morning to a sales meeting in Clintwood, Va.

He checked into a Hampton Inn shortly before 11 p.m. and went to his room, where he called his wife and then prepared for his sales meeting the next day. He said he realized he left his laptop charger in his Ford Explorer and left the room, door ajar, and went out an exit door that he propped open with a twig from a bush.

After returning to his room, he last used his laptop around 11:53 p.m. and then decided to go outside to smoke a cigar, he testified. He returned, brushed his teeth and set his alarm for around 6:15 a.m. the next morning.

The state contends that Jason Young checked into the hotel, put a rock in the exit door, unplugged the security camera and returned to Raleigh and beat his wife to death.

Jason Young testifies in murder trial Jason Young testifies in murder trial

On his way back to Virginia after the murder, prosecutors say, he stopped around 5:30 a.m. at a gas station in King, N.C. – 45 minutes from Hillsville. A store employee testified that she remembered him because he cursed at her and threw a $20 bill at her because she wouldn't activate the gas pump until he paid.

Jason Young said that employee, Gracie Dahms, never saw him at the store that morning.

"No sir, I was in my hotel room," he told defense attorney Bryan Collins.

Bloody shoeprints found in the Youngs' bedroom weren't Jason Young's either, according to his testimony.

Prosecutors say one set of shoe impressions matched a pair of Hush Puppies Orbital shoes that Jason Young had purchased in July 2005. Jason Young said he wore the shoes often but that his wife got rid of them when they were no longer fit to wear.

Jason Young also admitted to searching for the terms "anatomy of a knockout" and "head trauma" on his home computer, saying that he had witnessed an auto wreck that summer and felt helpless that he couldn't do more to help the crash victim.

"I wanted to know if there was anything else that I could have done in that situation," Jason Young said.

Investigators testified that they were never able to find a dark-colored shirt with a stripe across the chest that Jason Young was wearing in a hotel security video the night before his wife's death. Collins, however, pointed out in a photo of Cassidy's third birthday party that his client was wearing a dark blue shirt with a line across the chest.

Jason Young has never spoken to detectives about his wife's slaying, and investigators have characterized him as being uncooperative.

In March 2009, Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens awarded Michelle Young's family $15.5 million in damages in a wrongful death lawsuit. Jason Young never responded to the complaint, and Stephens ruled that, by failing to do so, he conceded a civil judgment that holds him liable for his wife's death.

A month earlier, Jason Young reached a custody agreement with his wife's sister, Meredith Fisher. Part of that agreement, attorney Mike Schawski testified last week, was that he would not have to give a deposition or submit to a psychological examination.

Jason Young said Wednesday that he never spoke to investigators or anyone else about the case on the advice of a lawyer and at the urging of friends, who were calling him hours after he heard about his wife’s murder and telling him not to talk.

Jason Young said that he had traveled to see his family in Brevard, N.C., after his business meeting in Clintwood. His mother and stepfather broke the news to him when he arrived at their home.

"I just fell. I just broke on the inside. I didn't believe it," he said. "It just didn't feel real. It didn't feel like it was happening. I didn't believe it, and I didn't understand it."

Jason Young said he met his wife at a bar in downtown Raleigh and that the two began dating. In 2003, he found out she was pregnant.

"We were both very shocked. It wasn't planned. It was a surprise – but a good surprise," he said. "It certainly expedited the marriage. It made it happen sooner."

After Cassidy's birth, the two planned for another baby. In 2006, she became pregnant with a boy, to be named Rylan.

"Both of us were thrilled. It couldn't have been more perfect," Jason Young said. "I think we both wanted to experience having a girl and a boy. It was so storybook."

Jason Young said that the two began making plans for the new baby, which included Michelle Young cutting back on her work hours at Progress Energy. They had also discussed having his mother-in-law, Linda Fisher, come live with them.

"I did not want to live with my mother-in-law," Jason Young said. "I was adamant about Linda not living with us."

Linda Fisher was a source of tension in the marriage, witnesses have testified, describing their relationship as "tense at best." Partly, Jason Young said, that was because his wife seemed to always call her mother whenever she was upset after an argument.

"Michelle could be pretty dramatic," he said, adding that she would relay information to her mother that wasn't always accurate and that Linda Fisher "would always hear these really bad things."

On cross-examination, Wake County Assistant District Attorney Beck Holt stayed away from questioning Jason Young about his actions before and after his wife's death, choosing to focus on his relationship with his wife and the other women in his life.

Jason Young admitted to pinning his former fiancée, Genevieve Cargol, in 1999 and, in a drunken state, removing her engagement ring from her finger. But he denied other allegations that he had been violent – specifically about punching a hole in his apartment wall after Cargol found a letter from another woman and punching a hole in Cargol's car windshield.

He also admitted to two affairs within a month before Michelle Young's death, including one with his wife's sorority sister and friend, Michelle Money. But, Jason Young said, he had no plans to leave his wife, despite more than 400 phone calls, text messages and emails with Money in one month's time.

Both knew nothing would come from the relationship, he said.

"She knew that I loved Cassidy, and I loved Michelle. We both knew it was wrong. I don't think either one of us dreamed it would be found out," he said. "We knew it had to stop."

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  • RMT Jun 23, 2011

    I hope there are some jurors that have HEARD it all-He & Michelle were both in a bad car wreck and after that he DID come up on a bad car wreck. He has told a very real storyline that totally fits. -There are cheaters-many men all of you know ---who cheat just like this whether you know it or not! Cheating is rampant-men & women. That is wrong but he did not kill Michelle Young- That would have fixed nothing for him- It would ruin his life just as it is ruined now. He was too smart to think he could get away with murder- Circumstances have been stretched to force guilt by prosecution. There is so much DOUBT here- It can not be ignored- I hope the JURY takes their duty seriously and finds him NOT GUILTY.

  • Holli0224 Jun 23, 2011

    "Jason Young also admitted to searching for the terms "anatomy of a knockout" and "head trauma" on his home computer, saying that he had witnessed an auto wreck that summer and felt helpless that he couldn't do more to help the crash victim."

    "I wanted to know if there was anything else that I could have done in that situation," Jason Young said.

    Seriously? I really hope that nobody is buying this.

  • superman Jun 23, 2011

    Maybe--just maybe she was having a couple affairs on her own. As I recall the relationship was very rocky and she was considering divorce. Different people react to divorce differently but having a second child just doesnt seem to be thinking ahead or rationally. He didnt know anything so he had nothing to share with the investigation. He was a suspect immediately so why would he want to tell them anything. Remember the miranda rights-- what you say will and can be held against you in a court of law. I would have kept my mouth shut too especially if I didnt know anything. He was a suspect-- did you think he would move into the police station? The more people run their mouth--the move trouble it stirs up.
    He

  • familyfour Jun 23, 2011

    Look at him.

    I haven't watched a thing, heard a thing, or read a thing until last night, when I saw a news flash of him and his fake crying. I thought he was going to mash his eyes out of his head trying to get water to fall.

    If he didn't look so strung out, I might could have had an ounce of concern.

    Five years of no cooperation, no concern, and nothing but dodging the whole thing.....

    Yeah, I'm pretty judgmental. I'm also pretty good at pegging people at a glance.

    They say don't judge a book by it's cover. I say books don't have eyes. Look into them. They tell a story. A life long story, without a word ever spoken.

    Funny...most people won't even look one eye to eye, anymore. I wonder why. (It's not a question, it's a statement.)

  • ebeamer7472 Jun 23, 2011

    The clerk IDing would have been cleaner and beyond question had they offered several pics and asked had she seen any of them. Maybe showing one is ok, but it would have been beyond reproach to have done differently.

  • Chill Out Jun 23, 2011

    None of it matters, he is guilty. I just know it. Why, because he cheated, and blinks, and drinks a lot of water, and didn't talk to police. Are you kidding me!!! - Chill Out

    LOL...sorry I know you're being serious but I had to laugh at that one..buford

    Glad I made you laugh. I am being somewhat serious and somewhat sarcastic in this (and a lot of my posts). Just trying to make a point about how some people are defending their view of guilt.

    I must say, there are a lot more opinions of guilt from this trial vs. BC trial. I have no vote in G vs NG. I only watched JY testify and will not watch the CS's. But the posts have been enough to fill my downtime at work... I bet research on boards like this could make for a great thesis for a grad student learning about anonomous social interaction...

  • buford Jun 23, 2011

    New Article...

    http://www.wral.com/specialreports/michelleyoung/story/9768720/

  • tigresspen Jun 23, 2011

    kayfran4272: He didn't call Meredith until noon. The morning calls between 7:20 and 7:50 were to his mother, his girlfriend and home.

  • ebeamer7472 Jun 23, 2011

    I wouldn't say the state's case is solid, Jody, but it is probably enough to get conviction. It could be solid if a few things were different, but they aren't and the prosecutors have to work with what they have.

  • Mr. Objective Jun 23, 2011

    cindylouwho: "Mr. Objective---regarding the dark clothes. Where were the clothes when the suitcase and car were searched? They were not found. He had to be wearing a different shirt in the birthday photo."

    I'll grant that it very well could have been a different shirt in the birthday photo. But I am not convinced that just because it wasn't in the Explorer or his suitcase means that it was covered in blood and discarded somewhere between Raleigh and Clintwood. Maybe he was carrying it as he walked from the Explorer to greet his mom in Brevard, dropped it when told of MY's death, and it never made it back into the car.

    I was surprised the defense attorney didn't ask, "Is the shirt you are wearing in the bday photo the same one you wore to smoke a cigar at midnight in Hillsville?" I find it odd that they didn't produce the actual shirt or ask questions about it's current whereabouts. But the defense has no burden of proof. Does the photo create reasonable doubt? I say maybe.

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