Wake prosecutors say they will re-try Jason Young
Posted July 20, 2011 10:45 a.m. EDT
Updated July 20, 2011 1:27 p.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — Wake County prosecutors announced Wednesday that they plan to re-try a Raleigh man whose murder trial ended last month with a deadlocked jury.
Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens declared a mistrial on June 27 after jurors were unable to decide whether Jason Young is guilty of first-degree murder in the beating death of his pregnant wife, Michelle Young.
Michelle Young, 29, was found facedown on the floor in the bedroom of the couple's Wake County home on Nov. 3, 2006.
A new trial date has been tentatively set for Oct. 10, and Stephens set a $900,000 secured bond in the case.
In asking for bond, Jason Young's defense attorney, Bryan Collins, said his client had only one infraction – for hoarding food – since his arrest in December 2009 and that he had no reason to flee.
"He has every reason to come back," Collins said.
Wake County Assistant District Attorney Howard Cummings, in response, reminded Stephens that the case involved “a very brutal murder of a fine person."
"The state's contention in this case is that some of the evidence involved has been disposed of, either by the defendant or by persons on his behalf," Cummings said.
Jason Young, 37, was in court Wednesday morning, as well as Michelle Young's mother, Linda Fisher, and sister, Meredith Fisher. Detective Richard Spivey, the lead investigator in the case, was also present.
In a rare move, Jason Young testified during his trial that he was out of town at the time his wife was killed and that he had no involvement in her death.
Legal experts say his decision to testify could have been a factor in the hung jury.
Jurors deliberated for more than 12 hours before sending a note to Stephens that they were stuck at an 8-4 vote. It appeared by markings on the note that the jury had been leaning toward a not-guilty verdict.
Jurors have declined interviews about the case, but the jury foreman told WRAL News that there was no doubt to him that there was reasonable doubt in the case.
The state contended during the nearly three-week trial that Jason Young and his wife argued frequently and that he didn't want to be married but didn't want a divorce.
Prosecutors claim that he checked into a Virginia hotel on the night of Nov. 2, 2006, and drove 169 miles back to his home, killed his wife and drove back to the hotel.
Michelle Young's sister discovered her body and the Youngs' 2-year-old daughter, who was unharmed, inside the home after getting a voicemail from Jason Young asking her to go to the home to retrieve some documents from a printer.
Defense attorneys argued that someone else, possibly two people, killed Michelle Young, noting DNA evidence found inside the house didn't match Jason Young.
There was no physical evidence linking him to the crime, his attorneys said. He didn't have time to commit the crime, and even circumstantial evidence showed that he didn't do it, they said.