Michelle Young's mom talked to her about divorce
Posted June 17, 2011 11:33 a.m. EDT
Updated June 17, 2011 7:31 p.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — The marriage of Jason Young and his wife had become so riddled with arguments by October 2006 and Michelle Young had become so sad that her mother had confronted her about divorcing her husband.
"She was defeated. She had so much to offer," Linda Fisher testified Friday in Jason Young's first-degree murder trial. "She loved life, and he just took it away from her."
Michelle Young, 29, was five months’ pregnant when she was found beaten to death in her Wake County home on Nov. 3, 2006.
Jason Young has said he was out of town at the time and has denied any involvement in his wife’s death, but prosecutors say he killed his wife because he no longer wanted to be married and wanted to live life on his own terms.
Fisher, a retired New York school teacher who was emotional at times on the witness stand, said her oldest daughter had dreamed of the perfect marriage – a nice husband, two kids and a white picket fence – but that there was always arguing and that Jason Young belittled and mocked his wife.
"It felt like there was no sweetness between the two of them," she said.
It was to the point, Fisher said, that her daughter seemed almost as if she had nothing else to live for.
"She deserved to be happy, and she was not. There was a void in her, and I hated seeing her like that," she said. "You want them to try to work on it and make it better, but they had gone on for three years, and they were not headed in the right direction."
Witnesses have testified that the couple often fought about Fisher and the relationship she had with her daughter. Fisher's relationship was described as "tense at best" with Jason Young, they have said.
Michelle Young had been planning to cut back on her hours at work and at one point had a plan for Fisher to move into her home to help care for the Cassidy, then 2, and the new baby. But Jason Young, witnesses have said, was opposed to the idea.
Fisher said Friday that she wasn't aware until recently the extent that she and her visits to Raleigh from New York were a source of problems in her daughter's marriage until recently.
Another issue in the marriage, Fisher said, was a lack of sex.
Recalling a conversation with Jason Young's mother, Fisher said that Pat Young knew about that issue but that her son never told her anything about the arguing.
"She just said to me (that) only Jason tells her (Michelle) doesn't want to have sex with him," Fisher said. "I told her, 'Would you want to have sex with someone that treats you the way he treats her?'"
"Michelle said he didn't make love to her," Fisher added. "He was rather perverted in his behavior."
The tension between Fisher and her former son-in-law continued after Michelle Young's death.
He never returned Fisher's phone calls from Nov. 3, 2006, she said, and when they saw each other that night, she recalled there being "cold air."
"There was no hugging, no 'Oh my goodness, I'm sorry,'" Fisher said. "There was no crying. It appeared to me, when I looked at him – his head was down, and he looked like a 5-year-old boy."
The two did talk briefly, she said.
"I tried to talk to him, and he told me that 'My lawyer told me I can't talk to anyone, not even you,'" Fisher said. "And 'I'm going to take a hit on the house.' Those are the two things he said to me. Period."
After the funeral, Fisher added, he left Raleigh with Cassidy and made it difficult for her to see her granddaughter on a few occasions over the next couple of years.
She was given an ultimatum at one point, she said.
"What we needed to do was stand behind Jason, and if we didn't stand behind him, they were going to cut off all visits with Cassidy," Fisher said.
Eventually, Jason Young handed over primary custody of his daughter to his wife's sister in Fuquay-Varina, but the move shocked Fisher, she said.
"Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled that Cassidy's part of our life," she said. "But how does one give up (his) own child?"
Defense attorneys contend that Jason Young was not a good husband – he cheated on his wife and was obnoxious and childish – but that does not mean that he killed his wife.
There was no forensic evidence, not even a drop of blood, linking their client to the crime, defense attorneys said, and there were two sets of adult footprints – a size 10 and a size 12 – near Michelle Young's body.
But prosecutors, who are nearing the end of their case, say Jason Young checked into a hotel in Hillsville, Va., on the night of Nov. 2, 2006, and then returned to Raleigh, killed his wife and drove back to Virginia.
Also Friday, Beth Whitney, a computer forensics examiner with the City-County Bureau of Identification, said Friday that she found searches on his home computer for the terms "anatomy of a knockout," "head trauma blackout," "head blow knockout" and "head trauma."
Jason Fitzgerald, a friend of both Jason and Michelle Young, also testified Friday, saying that Jason Young, said "he was done" after an argument with his wife less than a month before her death.
"He would describe it as just being up to his neck with the relationship and – I paraphrase obviously – being done, being not willing to deal with (the marriage) any more," Fitzgerald said.