Michelle Young

Clerk says she sold gas to Jason Young on day of wife's slaying

Posted June 10, 2011 10:49 a.m. EDT
Updated June 10, 2011 7:08 p.m. EDT

— A third-shift convenience store clerk testified Friday in the murder trial of Jason Young that she sold him gasoline the morning his wife was found dead in their Raleigh home.

It was sometime between 5 and 5:30 a.m. on Nov. 3, 2006, Gracie Dahms recalled, that a man driving a white SUV pulled into the parking lot of the Four Brothers Food Store in King, N.C., about 120 miles from Raleigh, and attempted several times to get gas.

The pump was off during overnight hours, Dahms said, to keep people from driving away without paying. After several attempts at starting the pump, she said, the man entered the store and stood face to face with her.

"He asked me what was up, and I told him, 'Either you have to have cash or a license or credit card for me to hold on to until after you get done,'" Dahms said. "That's when he started cussing at me and threw a $20 at me."

Dahms said the man, she later pointed out in court as being Jason Young, got $15 worth of gasoline and drove away behind a nearby McDonald's.

"I don't forget anybody who cusses me," she said. "I don't forget nothing like that."

It was around the same time, Jason Young has said, that he was asleep inside a Hampton Inn approximately 45 minutes away in Hillsville, Va.

Prosecutors say he checked into the hotel on the night of Nov. 2, 2006, and then drove back to Raleigh and killed his pregnant wife, Michelle Young.

"His plan was to be able to say that he was in Virginia. His plan was to go in and kill her and get back out so that he could say he wasn't there," Wake County Assistant District Attorney Becky Holt said during opening statements Tuesday.

Also Friday, jurors heard testimony about Jason Young's cellphone records, which indicated he made dozens of calls, including several to a Florida woman with whom he was having an affair, on the night before and the day his wife died.

Jurors also spent hours listening to a crime scene investigator go over the crime scene as he found it on Nov. 3, 2006. They saw photos of the Youngs' bedroom and of Michelle Young as she had been found that day.

On Thursday, Hampton Inn employee Keith Hicks testified that, early in the morning of Nov. 3, 2006, that he discovered an emergency exit door propped open with a rock and a security camera pointing toward the door unplugged.

Hicks said that he kicked the rock from the door and had maintenance employee Elmer Goad plug the camera in around 5:50 a.m.

About 15 minutes later, Hicks testified, he noticed that the camera had been pushed up toward the ceiling.

Goad testified that, when he checked the electronic key access log for sheriff's detectives days later, records showed Young’s room had been accessed only once using the key. That was shortly before 11 p.m., and it wasn't accessed again until the next day by housekeeping.

Defense attorneys contend that Jason Young did not kill his wife and that there is no evidence that he did. There was DNA evidence, however, of two unidentified males found in the couple's home.

"This young man did not kill his wife," defense attorney Mike Klinkosum said in his opening statement to jurors. "He was not one of the attackers who brutally murdered her and his unborn son, and this case is not solved."