Investigator believes Jason Young killed his wife
Posted December 5, 2008 9:36 a.m. EST
Updated December 6, 2008 5:43 a.m. EST
Raleigh, N.C. — A senior resident Superior Court judge on Friday afternoon found that Jason Young "willfully and unlawfully killed" his wife, Michelle Young more than two years ago. The order comes as part of a civil wrongful death suit filed by Michelle Young's mother, Linda Fisher, against Jason Young.
Among the supporting documents in Judge Donald Stephens' judgment was an affidavit from Wake County sheriff’s investigator Richard Spivey, a member of the team investigating the criminal case of the 29-year-old mother’s death.
Spivey is "familiar with other items of fact developed during this investigation that have not been placed in the public record," according to his affidavit.
He concludes, "Based on my experience in law enforcement ... and my knowledge of the evidence gathered in the investigation of the death of Michelle Young, in my opinion, the allegation ... that 'Jason Young brutally murdered Michelle Young at their residence' is true."
"This document says he murdered his wife," Paul Michaels, an attorney for Fisher said Friday. “The effect of this is that Jason Young is disinherited from Michelle Young’s estate. He can’t take property from it, he can’t submit for life insurance proceeds or any other kind of benefits through Michelle Young.
Fisher called the judgment "a huge development."
The civil case is based, in part, on North Carolina's "slayer statute," which prohibits any person defined as the slayer from benefiting from deaths they allegedly cause. Stephens' ruling Friday defines Jason Young as the slayer in this case and bars him from collecting life insurance on his wife.
For the purposes of the civil suit, the judgment accepts as fact Fisher's allegation that "Jason Young brutally murdered Michelle Young at their residence."
"It is difficult to take, but it's all in God's hands. Our prayers are answered," Fisher said Friday.
When Jason Young failed to meet a deadline to contest the civil claims made by Fisher, her lawyers saw it as an admission that he was responsible for his wife’s death.
Michelle Young murder case remains unsolved
Michelle Young was found beaten to death on the floor inside her bedroom on Nov. 3, 2006. She was five months' pregnant with her second child.
No criminal charges have been issued or arrests made in the case, but search warrants indicate that Jason Young has been a focus of their investigation. Sheriff Donnie Harrison had no comment on the case Friday afternoon.
Jason Young told investigators he was out of town on business when his wife was killed, but he has generally been uncooperative with investigators. He spoke to them once and, under a court order, gave DNA samples.
He has since moved to Western North Carolina, where his family lives.
Warrants focus interest on Jason Young
Additional search warrants in the case become public on Friday morning.
In a warrant issued on July 25, 2007, detectives said they had found a bottle of Extra Strength Tylenol/Adult Rapid Blast Liquid and a medicine dropper that contained liquid residue on the dresser of the Youngs' 2-year-old daughter.
They believed it was used to medicate the child with the belief that it would have made her drowsy.
"Once the child was asleep, the perpetrator would have been able to commit or continue their attack without worrying about interference from the child," the affidavit said.
Other warrants indicated investigators’ interest in Jason Young's text and e-mail messages.
Detectives said their investigation led them to believe he had been engaging in detailed e-mail conversations with witnesses and that because he was “an avid cell phone text message sender and receiver,” he might have also been communicating with witnesses that way. (Read more about the warrants.)
In a warrant executed this week, detectives searching Jason Young's Internet accounts said they found a number of searches for terms such as "head trauma knockout" and "anatomy of a knockout."
Investigators also described e-mail exchanges Jason Young had with his sister about the case, as well as with a Florida woman with whom investigators say he was having an extramarital relationship.