Local News

Slain Woman's Husband Comes Under Scrutiny

Posted November 9, 2006 11:39 a.m. EST
Updated December 27, 2006 11:22 p.m. EST

— The husband of a young Wake County woman found dead in her home last Friday was seen with a prominent local defense attorney late Wednesday morning at a county crime office.

Jason Young, 32, was responding to a court order that allows authorities to take physical evidence from someone close to a criminal case. He arrived with attorney Roger W. Smith Jr. at the City County Bureau of Identification at the Wake County Public Safety Center.

Young's wife, Michelle Young, 29, died last week from blunt force trauma, according to preliminary autopsy reports. She was also about 20 weeks pregnant with her second child at the time.

Under law, the basis for the non-testimonial order is when "there are reasonable grounds to suspect the person named or described in the affidavit committed the offense." Detectives can collect blood samples and DNA samples as well as fingerprints, Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby said.

Authorities, however, have not named Young as a suspect in the case, Wake sheriff's spokeswoman Phyllis Stephens said Wednesday evening.

The CCBI is a specialized fingerprint identification bureau that helps Wake County law enforcement agencies identify perpetrators of crime.

CCBI personnel took Young, who responded to the order voluntarily, into a fingerprinting area of the building, locked the door to the public and closed the shades. He then left through a back door.

Authorities said Young had left town Thursday night for a business trip and was at his parents' home in Brevard when his sister-in-law found Michelle Young's body Friday afternoon.

The couple's 2-year-old daughter was found unharmed at her mother's side, authorities said. She is now staying with relatives.

Investigators said there was no sign of forced entry at the house, at 5108 Birchleaf Drive, and authorities said the slaying does not appear to be a random act of violence.

Crime scene investigators remained at the residence Wednesday collecting evidence. Authorities said they have interviewed the couple's family and friends, and sources tell WRAL that they are making progress in the case.

Investigators, however, have not named any suspects and ask that anyone who might have seen suspicious activity or unfamiliar vehicles in the area between midnight and 6 a.m. Friday to call the Wake County Sheriff's Office at 919-856-6800.

Young's attorney, Smith, is a lawyer at Tharrington Smith Attorneys at Law in Raleigh, a firm that has represented a number of high-profile clients in recent years. Among them: former North Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Meg Scott Phipps, who was sentenced to federal prison for fraud; Ann Miller Kontz, who pleaded guilty to the poisoning death of her husband in December 2000; and Collin Finnerty, one of three Duke lacrosse athletes accused of raping an exotic dancer.

Michelle Young Remembered

Michelle Young's funeral was scheduled for 11 a.m. Thursday at Brown-Wynne Funeral Home on Saint Mary's Street in Raleigh. Family and friends gathered there Wednesday evening to pay their respects and to remember the woman who they said was a dedicated Wolfpack fan, devoted mother and loving wife.

High school friends described Michelle Young as a "normal down-to-earth person" who was captain of her cheerleading squad at Sayville High School in West Sayville N.Y., where she graduated in 1995.

They said she was very happily married, was thrilled to be a mother and thrilled about being a mom again.

"They obviously loved each other very much," said Vince Andrews, a friend of Jason Young. "They were both young, not too far out of college and starting a family. It's just awful."