Michelle Young

Jurors: Lacking physical evidence pointed to Jason Young's guilt

Posted March 6, 2012 9:50 p.m. EST
Updated March 6, 2012 11:58 p.m. EST

— Jurors in Jason Young's second murder trial in Wake County said Tuesday that the lack of physical evidence in the case pointed to the defendant's guilt rather than his innocence.

On Monday, eight women and four men found Young, 37, guilty of first-degree murder in the brutal beating death of his wife, Michelle Marie Fisher Young. He is serving life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Michelle Young, 29, who was pregnant with the couple's second child, was found face-down in a pool of blood in the bedroom of the Youngs' Raleigh home on Nov. 3, 2006. The couple's 2-year-old daughter, Cassidy, was found unharmed in her parents' bed.

Jason Young said he was in Virginia on a business trip when his wife was killed and that he had nothing to do with her death, but three jurors who spoke with WRAL News Tuesday said his story contained too many coincidences to be believed.

"While we were deliberating, we started naming all of these coincidences," said juror Anthony Fuller. "It was like, 'How do you just have so many coincidences?'"

Two key pieces of the puzzle helped the jury make its decision, said jury forewoman Tracey Raksnis: The clothes and shoes Jason Young was seen wearing on surveillance video the night of his wife's murder were never found and, though Cassidy Young left bloody footprints around her mother's body and throughout the house, the toddler's feet and pajamas were clean by the time Michelle Young's sister discovered her body.

"She was cleaned up. I don't see anybody else (but Jason Young) doing that," Raksnis said. "If this was just a robbery, I don't think you pay that kind of attention."

Juror Melissa Axline agreed, asking why a stranger would take the time to clean a child.

"I am 150 percent, absolutely positive that Jason Young did it. Michelle Young had no enemies," Axline said.

She said she, like most of the other jurors, was undecided when deliberations started last week, but careful consideration of the evidence led her to one conclusion.

"It all goes back to one person and that's Jason," she said.

Though the jurors said they are confident in their verdict, spending a month in the jury box listening to the gruesome details of Michelle Young's murder was difficult and draining.

"It was really hard," Fuller said. "I had to come home and hug my children, hug these boys. They had to help me get through some of that."

Jason Young, on the other hand, showed little emotion in the courtroom as witnesses testified about the couple's troubled marriage, Jason Young's infidelity and Cassidy Young's reenactment of the murder at daycare using toy dolls.

Despite the sometimes haunting testimony, Raksnis said the jury was committed to remaining "very unbiased and emotionally detached."

Fuller agreed.

"I can't convict him for being a jerk. I can't convict him for being immature," he said.

He said the jury had to made its decision based on the facts and, when he saw Michelle Young's family react tearfully to the verdict, he knew they had done the right thing.

"I felt bad for them," he said. "(Michelle Young) was a beautiful person. She really was."