Local News

Jason Young won't face death penalty in wife's beating death

Posted August 26, 2010 3:42 p.m. EDT
Updated April 26, 2011 10:09 a.m. EDT

— Wake County prosecutors announced Thursday that they won't seek the death penalty against a Raleigh man when he goes to trial for the November 2006 beating death his pregnant wife.

Jason Young, 35, was arrested in December on a first-degree murder charge in the death of Michelle Young, 29, who was five months' pregnant when she was beaten inside the couple's Wake County home on Nov. 3, 2006.

"The state will be filing notice that in our discretion we have decided to proceed non-capitally in this case," said Assistant District Attorney Howard Cummings Thursday.

Chief Resident Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens appointed himself to hear the case, which is scheduled to begin May 16, 2011.

Investigators haven't offered a motive for the killing, but in search warrants, investigators have described the couple's marriage as a "volatile" relationship that included violent arguments and infidelity on his part.

According to search warrants in the case, he told investigators he was out of town on business when his wife was killed. Michelle Young's sister, Meredith Fisher, found her body after he asked her to go to the couple's home to retrieve a fax.

Testifying during a wrongful death hearing last year, sheriff's investigator R.C. Spivey called the slaying "particularly brutal."

An autopsy found she died from blunt force trauma to the head after being hit at least 10 times. The report also suggests that her killer tried to strangle her before beating her to death.

"(It was) the most severe physical beating I've ever seen someone encounter," he said. "This [was] pretty extreme, a pretty vicious attack that she underwent."

Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison won't say why it took more than three years to arrest Jason Young, only that the arrest had been "a long time coming" and that such domestic cases "take time."

Last year, a Wake County judge awarded Michelle Young's family $15.5 million in damages in a wrongful death suit against him.

Fisher has primary custody of the Youngs' daughter, Cassidy, who was 2 years old when she was found in the same room with her mother's body.