Jury 'immovably hung' in Jason Young murder trial
Posted June 27, 2011
Raleigh, N.C. — The jury foreman in the first-degree murder trial of Jason Young told the court Monday that jurors are "immovably hung" on a verdict but that they owe it to the court to keep deliberating.
"Unfortunately, at this time, we are at an impasse," Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens read from a note from the jury foreman. "We currently sit at a 6-6 ratio and do not appear to be able to make any further movement. Where do we go from here?"
Stephens instructed the seven men and five women to go back to the jury room to keep trying to reach a verdict.
Before dismissing them for lunch around 1:30 p.m., Stephens inquired if they felt like any progress had been made and whether they should continue.
"We owe it to the court," the jury foreman said. "We have a little bit more work to do, Your Honor."
Jason Young, 37, is accused of beating his wife, Michelle Young, to death inside the couple's Wake County home more than four years ago. He has said he was in Virginia on business at the time.
Wake County prosecutors say he returned home to Raleigh in the early hours of Nov. 3, 2006, and committed the crime before returning to Virginia and continuing on with his trip.
In a rare move for a defendant in a criminal trial, Jason Young testified that he did not kill his wife, and defense attorneys argued that the physical and circumstantial evidence don't support that he did.
If the jury can't reach a verdict, Stephens would have to declare a mistrial, meaning the case would likely be tried again. But he urged jurors earlier Monday to try to reconcile their differences.
"I want you to continue to deliberate," the judge told jurors. "If you find yourself unable to resolve the matter unanimously, then you will advise me."
The jury received the case Thursday afternoon and deliberated for nearly eight hours last week.
It deliberated for about two hours Monday morning before sending the note to Stephens around 11:15 a.m., after which Stephens called prosecutors and defense attorneys back to his chambers.
They were gone for about five minutes before defense attorneys returned and left the courtroom again with Jason Young. They reappeared about five minutes later, and then attorney Mike Klinkosum left the courtroom again with Jason Young's mother.
On Friday, the jury asked for several pieces of evidence to review, including a security video showing Jason Young's shoes as he left a restaurant on the evening of Nov. 2, 2006.
Investigators found a shoe print matching a pair of shoes that Jason Young purchased a year earlier and that he admitted to wearing frequently. He testified, however, that Michelle Young had gotten rid of the shoes when they became unfit to wear.