Local News

Jason Young quiet on wrongful death lawsuit

Posted December 2, 2008 10:16 a.m. EST
Updated December 2, 2008 6:08 p.m. EST

— The husband of a slain Wake County mother found dead in her home more than two years ago is not contesting claims that he is responsible for her death.

And by not responding, attorneys for Michelle Young's mother say Jason Young is admitting to allegations that he killed the 29-year-old more than two years ago.

"In layman's terms, it allows us to get a default judgment against Jason Young," said Raleigh attorney Paul Michaels, who represents Michelle Young's mother, Linda Fisher. "It means he admitted the substantive allegations of the complaint."

Jason Young had 30 days to file a response to Fisher's Oct. 29 lawsuit, filed days before the two-year statute of limitations on a wrongful death action was set to expire. No response and no request for an extension had been filed Tuesday morning.

His attorney, Roger Smith Jr., declined to comment.

"It was, I'll admit, somewhat of a surprise to us," said Fisher's other attorney, Jack Michaels. "But then again, the defense of what we think is a pretty large substantial case would have been rather expensive potentially."

Michelle Young was five months' pregnant with her second child when her sister found her lying face down on Nov. 3, 2006, inside her home at 5108 Birchleaf Drive. Her then-2-year-old daughter, Cassidy, was unharmed at her side.

Fisher is seeking two claims, her other attorney, Jack Michaels, said.

"One is to get him adjudicated as the slayer of Michelle, and the second is a wrongful death claim for money damages," he said.

A judge will be asked to rule on the two issues in the coming weeks. If Jason Young is declared his wife's killer, under law, he would not be allowed to collect insurance benefits.

Fisher wants any benefits, as well as punitive and compensatory damages, to go to Cassidy, now 4.

Since his wife's death, Jason Young has moved with his daughter to western North Carolina, where his family lives.

He told Wake County sheriff's investigators that he was out of town on business when his wife was killed. Although authorities have never named him a suspect, search warrants suggest he is the focus in the case.

The Wake County District Attorney's Office and the Wake County Sheriff's Office also declined to comment Tuesday about the civil or criminal cases.

But Sheriff Donnie Harrison said last month the case is an active investigation and something he wants "to bring to some resolution pretty quickly."

Fisher said Tuesday she also hopes for resolution.

"I just agonize over it, you know?" she said. "And I just want some resolve. My daughter needs justice, and this is my first step."