Michelle Young

Jason Young's lover testifies in murder trial

Posted June 14, 2011 10:04 a.m. EDT
Updated June 14, 2011 6:46 p.m. EDT

— A sorority sister and friend of Michelle Young testified Tuesday morning that she had an affair with Young’s husband shortly before Young was killed nearly five years ago.

Michelle Young, 29, was five months’ pregnant when she was found beaten to death in her Wake County home, at 5108 Birchleaf Drive, on Nov. 3, 2006. Her daughter, Cassidy, then 2, was in the house at the time but was unharmed.

Her husband, Jason Young, 37, has said he was out of town on business at the time and has denied any involvement in his wife’s death. He was arrested in December 2009 on a first-degree murder charge and is currently on trial. If convicted, he faces life in prison.

Michelle Money, a Florida woman who attended North Carolina State University with Michelle Young in the mid-1990s, told investigators that she had been having a sexual relationship with Jason Young and had seen him a month before Michelle Young's death.

After a September 2006 visit to the Youngs' home in which Money shared concerns with Jason Young about her marriage, Money said, the two began talking daily, and she felt like they had become friends.

"It grew very quickly. We started talking all day about anything ... anything that you would talk to a friend about," she said.

The relationship evolved from a friendship into something more, Money said, and on the weekend of Oct. 7, 2006, he visited her in Florida. Money said the two wavered about whether he should make the trip.

"He flew in on a Saturday, and I believe that, as late as Thursday night, I was saying, 'Maybe you shouldn't come. This is wrong,'" she said.

Jason Young had planned a fishing trip in Wilmington that weekend, she said, but he said he could tell his wife that he had a business trip in Florida.

"We basically just hung out at the house and basically had an intimate relationship for the two days that he was there," she said.

He left early Monday morning, and the two discussed seeing each other again, Money said, although they never set any other time.

"We kind of knew it couldn't keep going, but we kept talking," she said.

Jason Young and Money spoke several times the night of Nov. 2, 2006, and the following morning, she said.

"It was a normal conversation," Money added about the morning phone call. "I don't remember anything standing out in our conversation at all."

They spoke several other times that day, she said, during which Jason Young was disappointed that his business meeting didn't go well and he said he was concerned that his wife would find printouts of a Coach purse he was thinking about getting her for a belated anniversary gift.

Money said she found out about Michelle Young's death later that night and made plans to go to Raleigh the next morning.

A couple of weeks after the funeral, investigators traveled to Florida, Money said, and questioned her about her relationship with Jason Young. At one point, she said, she was considered a suspect.

The two stopped communicating for a while, she testified, but started to send email to one another in early 2007. They saw each other and talked at length again in June 2007, when Jason Young was in Myrtle Beach for a guy's weekend, Money said.

She ceased contact with him in January 2008, Money said, after investigators told her she was "an idiot" and needed to stop speaking to him.

"I sent Jason a text saying I needed to put my life first, and he wrote back and said he understood," she said.

Despite the affair, she said, she still considered Michelle Young her friend, but she never asked Jason Young if he murdered his wife.

Prosecutors say Jason Young felt as if he were rushed into marriage when his wife found out she was pregnant with their daughter and that he killed her so that he could live a single life.

They say he drove three hours from a Hampton Inn in Hillsville, Va. – where he checked into a Hampton Inn shortly before 11 p.m. on Nov. 2, 2006 – to Raleigh and killed his wife before returning to Virginia to continue with his business trip.

Defense attorneys admit that their client wasn’t a good husband but insist that he did not kill his wife. Forensic evidence, they say, proves it and that it actually points to someone else, possibly two people.

Jennifer Remy, a hair and fiber analyst for the State Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab, also testified Tuesday, saying hair samples from the scene, including a clump found in Michelle Young's hand and a strand found on a framed wedding photo, weren't consistent with hair samples collected from Jason Young.

There was also no trace evidence, such as carpet fibers, from the Hampton Inn found in the Young home, Remy said.

Other agents testified that there was no evidence of blood on clothes from Jason Young's suitcase that was seized when he returned to Raleigh after learning about his wife's death.

His DNA, however, was on a piece of sheet rock that was taken from the bedroom, SBI analyst David Freeman said. But Freeman added on cross-examination that he had no way of knowing how long it had been there.