Defense rests case without calling Young as witness
Posted February 29, 2012 11:22 a.m. EST
Updated February 29, 2012 7:59 p.m. EST
Raleigh, N.C. — Defense attorneys rested their case Wednesday afternoon in the retrial of Jason Young without calling him as a witness – a move that likely led to a deadlocked jury in his first trial last summer.
Young, 37, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of his pregnant wife, Michelle Young, who was found in a pool of blood inside their Wake County home on Nov. 3, 2006.
An autopsy found the 29-year-old died from blunt force injury to the head and suffered as many as 30 distinct blows.
Prosecutors called 47 witnesses over 15 days in an effort to prove that her husband is responsible for her death, but his attorneys say he was out of town when the crime occurred and that evidence points to someone else as the culprit.
Their case consisted of 14 witnesses and lasted three days.
Supporting their contention that there is no physical evidence linking Jason Young to Michelle Young's death, an expert in latent print analysis testified Wednesday that a palm print collected from the closet doorframe above where Michelle Young's body was found did not match Jason Young.
Marty Ludas said that, based on his analysis, other prints found in the home were of poor quality and, therefore, impossible to identify.
Some could have been older prints, from before the crime, that had been covered in blood, he added.
Also on Wednesday, defense attorneys focused again on the testimony of Fay Hinsley, who testified Tuesday that she was driving in the Enchanted Oaks neighborhood around 6:15 a.m. on Nov. 3, 2006, when she saw a dark-colored SUV that looked as if it were going to pull out in front of her.
Lead investigator Sgt. Richard Spivey, with the Wake County Sheriff’s Office, confirmed that Hinsley did tell him she saw a vehicle near the Young home, despite the fact that she seemed confused on the stand Tuesday about the address.
On cross-examination, Spivey said that one of the Youngs' neighbors had a dark-colored SUV and that Hinsley never identified a house – just the relative position of the vehicle she saw on the street.
Prosecutors also called three rebuttal witnesses Thursday, including Robin Troy Jones with Nationwide Insurance.
He testified that Jason Young filed a claim on his homeowner's policy on Nov. 20, 2006, for damages to the home but never filed a claim for personal property theft.
Another rebuttal witness, Jimmy Arrington, was called to refute testimony Tuesday from Cindy Beaver, an Enchanted Oaks resident who said she saw a vehicle with two people pulling forward out of the Youngs' driveway around 5:25 a.m. on Nov. 3, 2006.
Arrington, who was Beaver's supervisor at the time, testified that she told him she noticed the car backing out of the driveway and that he urged her to call investigators when he heard her talking to coworkers several days after the murder about what she saw.
Prosecutors also questioned him about his characterization of her during a police interview in early 2007 in which he described her as being nosey.
"Knowing her for the period of years that I worked with her, she had a tendency to get involved with other employees' affairs, and it was a constant thing going on with people," Arrington said. "You were putting out fires every day – he-said-she-said-type scenarios."
Spivey, who also testified as a rebuttal witness, said Beaver told an SBI agent, at one point, that she couldn't be positive that she saw the car pulling out of the driveway on the morning of Nov. 3, 2006.
In an interview in 2008, he said, she also told him that she had been "pondering statements" she made about that morning and wanted to be "1,000 percent certain about what she saw."
She was confident it was on a Friday, Spivey said, but wasn't sure which Friday. She also called him, at one point, saying she wanted to withdraw her witness statement.
Defense attorneys pointed out during cross-examination that, by that time, investigators had interviewed her five times, conducted surveillance on her and re-enacted her story to verify it.
"I was getting weary with it all, but it was not a retraction," Beaver testified Tuesday. "I just said I'm tired of dealing with this. … (I was like,) if this isn't fitting your picture, then I'm good. I have got other things to deal with right now."