Michelle Young

Mistrial declared in Michelle Young's beating death

Posted June 27, 2011

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— A deadlocked jury prompted a Superior Court judge on Monday to declare a mistrial in the first-degree murder trial of Jason Young, a Raleigh man accused of beating to death his pregnant wife, Michelle Young, more than four years ago.

Jason Young murder trial Full trial coverage

After deliberating for about two hours Monday morning, the jury foreman sent a note to Judge Donald Stephens saying the seven men and five women were at an impasse and "immovably hung" at a 6-6 verdict vote.

Although Stephens instructed the jurors to continue deliberating, by 4 p.m., they still were unable to reach a decision with an 8-4 vote on a verdict. It's unclear what the verdict was.

In all, the jury deliberated more than 12.5 hours since receiving the case on Thursday.

Neither prosecutors nor defense attorneys would comment on the case. Family members of both Michelle Young and Jason Young also declined to comment.

"There's really nothing to say," Michelle Young's mother, Linda Fisher, said.

Jason Young, 37, remained in the Wake County jail Monday evening, where he's been held since his arrest in December 2009.

Whether the case will be tried again remains unknown. Prosecutors could announce their decision next month at the court's quarterly homicide status hearing.

Local defense attorney and former federal prosecutor Dan Boyce, who is not affiliated with the Young case, said the decision could be based on a number of factors, including juror interviews and what direction the jury was leaning toward in that 8-4 vote.

"There's also a way this case could be resolved without a trial," Boyce said.

Jason Young Judge declares mistrial for Jason Young

Jason Young could also plead guilty to a lesser charge or accept an Alford plea, where a defendant doesn't have to admit guilt but accepts a plea because it is in his or her best interest, Boyce said.

The nature of Michelle Young's Nov. 3, 2006, slaying and the mystery surrounding it attracted widespread national attention, with People magazine even featuring it on the cover of its Jan. 27, 2007, issue – a young mother found brutally beaten to death with her 2-year-old daughter, unharmed, in the same room and tiny bloody footprints all over the crime scene.

A medical software salesman at the time, Jason Young said that he was out of state on business and was sleeping in a Virginia hotel when his wife was killed.

He never spoke to investigators, family members or friends about his alibi or the crime. In a rare move, however, defense attorneys called him to the witness stand to tell his side of the story for the first time, catching the state off guard. (Watch Jason Young's testimony.)

Jason Young murder trial WRAL News Special Report: Jason Young murder trial

Jason Young admitted that he wasn't a proper husband to his wife but that he loved her, their daughter Cassidy and unborn son Rylan, and that he was devastated by the loss.

"It was a brilliant move by his defense," former Cumberland County Assistant District Attorney Billy Richardson, said.

Prosecutors cross-examined Jason Young for less than an hour and never asked him about the night of the crime, which Richardson said could have been a mistake.

"I think what the prosecution was thinking there was, 'We know he's going to say he didn't do it, so why give him a chance to say that?'" Richardson said. "I think they should have looked him in the eye and say, 'You did this, didn't you?' The fact that they didn’t, didn't give the jury the opportunity to gauge and weigh his credibility from a cross-examination perspective."

Prosecutors contended during the nearly three-week trial that Jason Young and his wife argued frequently and that he didn't want to be married but didn't want a divorce.

He checked into a Hampton Inn in Hillsville, Va., on the night of Nov. 2, 2006, and drove 169 miles back to his home, the state said. He beat his wife with at least 30 distinct blows to the head, drugged his daughter with adult-strength cold medicine, which causes drowsiness, and returned to Virginia to continue with his business trip.

Defense attorneys argued that someone else, possibly two people, killed Michelle Young, noting DNA evidence found inside the house didn't match their client.

There was no physical evidence linking him to the crime, his attorneys said. He didn't have time to commit the crime, and even circumstantial evidence showed that he didn't do it, they said.

"The ability to put together the physical evidence, or lack of physical evidence – some of the circumstantial evidence – I think probably had a big impact on the case also," Boyce said. "Normally, in a case, you have all the scientific evidence coming into play. Here, it was the opposite. It actually played to the advantage of the defense team."

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  • stupiditydeservesnosympathy Jun 28, 2011

    BadDayforButch

    The emails JY sent to his ex declaring his love, the fact that he propped a a door open with a rock and gave the excuse that he did it to keep the outside door open when he went out to smoke, the security camera being unplugged etc etc... It all adds up --- JY had means, motive and opportunity. How this man got a mistrial I will never understand. Brad Cooper was convicted on lies and rumour.
    As for cooperating with the police, JY did everything not to help. A loving husband doesn't do that- but a cold blooded murderer does.
    And as for the evidence found later-- I beleive that was planted. Why would someone kill a Pregnant mother and not kill the child? Also, why would someone leave evidence--ie.. cigerettes. I hope the DA will bring it back to court and the next jury won't be so blind to the truth. JY=guilty

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Jun 28, 2011

    "The fact that he chose to slither away says more about him than it does about the DA or LEO's. - forautumn"

    It says he's pretty smart. If he cooperates all he does is help the DA and LEO's case against him seeing that they only believe he did it without pursuing all of the leads and looking for other suspects.

  • are you kidding me Jun 28, 2011

    Jason hired professional killer...that came from a thought

    Your going to disneyland...right?

  • buford Jun 28, 2011

    "Children? Really?"

    ok..child. Forgot he killed the unborn one.

    Does that make it better in your eyes? - forautumn

    Not at all...I think he is guilty...

  • forautumn Jun 28, 2011

    "Knowing the LEOs and DAs in Wake County always assume the husband did it, I wouldn't speak either knowing that my words could be twisted around and used against me."

    If it was my spouse, I would be there trying to do everything I could to catch the person responsible for taking their life and the life of my unborn child.

    The fact that he chose to slither away says more about him than it does about the DA or LEO's.

  • forautumn Jun 28, 2011

    "Children? Really?"

    ok..child. Forgot he killed the unborn one.

    Does that make it better in your eyes?

  • _kommon_sense_ Jun 28, 2011

    ""He had a lawyer!!!! But STILL didn't talk to LE even though he promised Michelle's family. He NEVER talked, not once, with OR without the presence of a lawyer. - java323"

    He was using his 5th amendment right given to us by our founding fathers.

    Knowing the LEOs and DAs in Wake County always assume the husband did it, I wouldn't speak either knowing that my words could be twisted around and used against me."
    DontLikeTheSocialistObama
    If your wife was truly murdered by someone other than yourself I think a loving husband would do everything in his power to assist in finding her murderer. Any husband that doesnt is a sad excuse for a husband.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Jun 28, 2011

    "LOL..if you are innocent, why worry? I mean, I would want to help them find the folks who did this. Not get lawyered up, refuse to talk, then leave town.

    Heck, he even gave up custody of his children rather than face questions...nice. - forautumn"

    The problem in Wake County is that they assume the husband did it and don't look for any other suspects.

    Anything you say is used and twisted to make the case against you.

    Look at the BC case as well, his deposition in the child custody case was used by the Cary PD in conjunction with the families lawyer to try and get a confession out of him for murdering NC.

  • buford Jun 28, 2011

    Heck, he even gave up custody of his children rather than face questions...nice. - forautumn

    Children? Really?

  • forautumn Jun 28, 2011

    "You can't blame JY for not helping the LEOs and DAs knowing that they automatically assume the husband did it and make the evidence support their theory."

    LOL..if you are innocent, why worry? I mean, I would want to help them find the folks who did this. Not get lawyered up, refuse to talk, then leave town.

    Heck, he even gave up custody of his children rather than face questions...nice.

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