Michelle Young

Attorneys argue their cases for, against Jason Young

Posted June 23, 2011

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— Did Jason Young kill his pregnant wife more than four years ago?

After 48 witnesses over a span of 11 days, a jury of seven men and five women were charged Thursday with the responsibility of deciding whether he will spend the rest of his life in prison for first-degree murder.

Jason Young Full video: Jason Young's testimony

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

Jason Young, 37, testified on his own behalf Wednesday, telling jurors that he loved his wife and unborn child, that he didn't kill her, and that he was sleeping in a hotel room in Virginia when she died. (Read more about Jason Young's testimony.)

Jason Young murder trial Full trial coverage

"We will never know what happened at 5108 Birchleaf Drive that night," defense attorney Bryan Collins said during his closing argument. "This case is not solved. The evidence is not clear."

Collins and defense attorney Mike Klinkosum said there is no physical evidence – including blood, fibers, fingerprints or DNA – to link their client to the crime. Even the circumstantial evidence presented over the past three weeks, they said, shows the he did not beat his wife to death.

Wake County prosecutors spent nine days laying out their case that the Young marriage was riddled with arguments, and that Jason Young didn't want to be married with two children.

Attorney Mike Klinkosum Defense arguments, pt 1

"He didn't want to be pinned down. He didn't want the responsibility," Assistant District Attorney Becky Holt said. "He wanted to go on with his life. He wanted to live as a single person, and you know that because of his actions."

Within months of Michelle Young's murder, witnesses testified that her husband had two affairs and sent an early-morning email to a former fiancée expressing his love for her.

"He has taken the stand and told you that he loved his wife and that he was working on his marriage," Holt continued. "Everything you have heard is contrary to that."

Bryan Collins Defense arguments, pt 2

The state contends that the Jason Young, a salesman for a medical software company, traveled out of state on a business trip on the night of Nov. 2, 2006, checked into a Hampton Inn just across the state border in Hillsville, Va., and returned in the middle of the night with plans to strangle his wife.

Instead, Michelle Young fought back and suffered at least 30 distinct blows to the head.

"Michelle was hit with such force on the left side of her jaw … that it came through her skin and went back up during the assault to make it look like there was a stab wound on the bottom of her face," Assistant District Attorney David Saacks said.

David Saacks State's arguments, pt 1

Before or during the course of the attack, prosecutors said, Jason Young drugged his daughter with a combination of adult-strength Tylenol and a prescription drug causing drowsiness.

"The defendant had planned to leave Cassidy there," Holt said. "What robber, what intruder, would have taken the time to deal with a child?"

It was Cassidy, they said, who initially found her mother's body and placed a baby doll by her head. Her bloody footprints covered the crime scene and were smeared on the walls of her bathroom.

Assistant District Attorney Becky Holt State's arguments, pt 2

Yet when she was found hiding under the covers of her parents' bed, her feet were clean. Socks saturated with blood were found on the floor, evidence she had taken them off, leaving her with clean feet, Saacks said.

But defense attorneys argued that Jason Young didn't have time to kill his wife, clean their daughter and get back to his hotel 169 miles away without leaving a drop of blood or any evidence to prove he did it.

There were no scratch marks on Jason Young's body and nothing to indicate he had been in a fight, investigators testified. Prosecutors pointed out that DNA evidence from two cigarette butts, a hair and a jewelry box suggests that two people were in the Young home that night, since the DNA samples didn't match their client.

"(Prosecutors) haven't presented one piece of concrete evidence, either direct or circumstantial, that Jason Young killed Michelle," Klinkosum said.

Saacks argued that no single piece of evidence points to Jason Young as the culprit but that when it all is put together, the evidence shows otherwise.

"There's no one thing that we're going to tell you and show you and bring to you that's going to say the defendant is the killer," he said. "It's all of it. It's the totality of it. There's too much pointing to the defendant to think otherwise – that it couldn’t be the defendant."

An "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence," he said, asking jurors to interpret what they do know and see.

DNA from a jewelry box didn't match Michelle Young or her husband, Saacks said, but it was never compared to other people connected to the case who had submitted DNA samples.

Unknown DNA from two cigarette butts and a strand of hair didn't match either, he added, but those items were found after crime scene investigators finished their work at the home. Others had been in and out of the house cleaning and repairing the house before the evidence was collected.

There was DNA matching Jason Young from a palm print on the molding of the closet door, Saacks said.

The location, he said, suggested that the defendant leaned against the wall as his wife lay on the floor so that he had more leverage when attacking her.

"It just makes sense that that print would be there at that location," he said.

Two sets of bloody shoeprints didn't match any of Jason Young's shoes that investigators found, but it wasn't a coincidence that a pair of Hush Puppies Orbitals once owned by Jason Young had the same outsoles as one of the prints, Holt said.

"Those Hush Puppies shoes, I would submit to you (that) he knows exactly where they are, because he threw them away," she said.

He disposed of them, as well as dark shirt he was seen wearing in security video at the Hampton Inn, Holt added.

Jason Young's decision Wednesday to take the witness stand was a rare move in criminal cases, as defendants are protected under the Fifth Amendment from having to testify.

Until his testimony, Jason Young said, he never spoke about his alibi or his relationship with his wife to anyone but his attorneys.

That, Holt said, wasn't normal for someone innocent of a crime.

"He didn't speak until he was here on trial for first-degree murder. That's the first time he thought it was important to tell you where he was and what he was doing," she told jurors.

It was 1,693 days after Michelle Young's death, after reviewing investigators' reports and listening to all the witnesses, she continued, that he broke his silence.

"Tell Jason Young, by your verdict, that you're not buying what he's trying to sell," Holt said. "Tell Jason Young that his story and his tears on this witness stand were too little and too late.

"Tell Jason Young that that there will be justice for Michelle. Tell Jason Young that there will be justice for Cassidy, that there will be justice for Rylan. Tell Jason Young that he is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of the first-degree murder of Michelle Marie Fisher Young."


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  • troneal Jun 24, 2011

    tigresspen...if the camera was found at 6:30am and fixed then he had approx 1-1.5 hours to commit the crime, clean up, and the stop for gas. Thats if he got back to the hotel just before the camera was found to be tampered with. Thats also assuming it took NO MORE than 2.5 hours to drive there and back. 15 min more each way and now he has under an hour to commit the crime and clean up etc. that includes the time spent dealing with the gas station attendant and getting rid of the bloody clothes. Im sorry but there is almost no chance that could have happened without mistakes.

    12:00am ~ leave hotel
    2:30am ~ arrive home (if it only took 2.5 hrs exactly)
    2:30am-3:30am ~ commit the crime and clean up.
    3:30am ~ leave house to dump bloody clothes, drive back, stop for gas in king
    6:15-6:30am - arrive back at hotel before camera was noticed (this is if it only took an extra 15min to dump clothes and gas up)

  • Irishgirl Jun 24, 2011

    Shame on you all who are second guessing the sister. She did not leave her sister because she called 911. She had already been through quite a bit of the house and no boogieman had jumped out at her. I would be ashamed at what some of you are saying. Of course Jason Young's sister is going to try to tarnish Meredith. Just look at what she's standing up for: a man who has cheated multiple times, a liar and a murderer. She's got some kind of nerve. - pleasing2thei

    Great post. I'm disgusted that even after the sister was interviewed multiple times and investigated (the Sheetz video), some people want to try to incriminate a woman who found her murdered sister and is raising her niece. The niece whose father gave her away to avoid answering questions. Apparently Jason didn't think Michelle's sister was tied to the crime - unless those of you who think he's innocent think he would give his child to a murderer.

  • tigresspen Jun 24, 2011

    See all Monday! Jurors gone home.

  • jody4663 Jun 24, 2011

    PhilBridges RT @NBC17: #youngtrial Jury has not reached a verdict and will return on Monday.

    Several tweets from news people same as above.

  • tigresspen Jun 24, 2011

    NCnewsfollower: He had plenty of time. Leaving motel at midnight then he could be at his home by 2:30 or 2:45- do the deed and be back at motel in time to go retrieve receipt in room. (entrance doors unlock at 6AM but camera was found pointing up to ceilling around 6:30/6:35)

  • canucmypointofview Jun 24, 2011

    Why am I not seeing any of my posts Mr(s) Moderator?? Glad the jury is taking their time!!!

  • jody4663 Jun 24, 2011

    Can someone tell me the significance of the clothes JY was wearing at Cassidy's 3rd B-day party...I missed that..thanks..

    buford, I think the defense wanted it to appear to be the dark shirt with strip he was wearing he night of the murder. I believe it was different in some way, may a zipper whereas the other one didn't have one.

  • tarheel86 Jun 24, 2011

    I hope the jury isn't asking to reveiw Meredith's 911 call because one of them read posts on here about possibly hearing Cassidy say "Daddy did it". If that were the case and it influenced the verdict, I think that could result in the verdict being overturned.-Carmine

    The jury specifically asked for only a transcript of the 911 call. The transcript doesn't include Cassidy saying "Daddy did it."

  • tigresspen Jun 24, 2011

    pleasing2gthei: Thank You!! I agree, she'd already been calling Michelle's name and walked upstairs - if someone was there, they'd have attacked before she made it to the master bedroom.

  • canucmypointofview Jun 24, 2011

    Thanks for the link - sounds like this jury is really taking this as serious as it really is!