Witness testimony challenged in Young case

Jason Young appears in a Raleigh courtroom

May 20, 2011 9:47:55 AM PDT
A crucial eyewitness in the prosecution's case against Jason Young told a judge Friday morning that she couldn't describe the man who bought gas at her gas station early in the morning of November 3, 2006.

That’s not long after investigators believe Michelle Young was beaten to death in her suburban Raleigh Home.

The testimony came in a pre-trial hearing for Michelle’s husband Jason. His murder trial is expected to begin early next month.

The witness, Gracie Bailey Dahms, was working the overnight shift at a convenience store in King, NC.

Investigators, who charged Jason Young with his wife’s murder, believe he drove back and forth from a Virginia motel to Raleigh to kill his pregnant wife during the night of November 2, 2006.

A few days later, investigators were canvassing gas stations along the route from Raleigh to the motel in Hillsville, Virginia. Dahms was shown a picture of Jason Young and told investigators he was at her store around 5:30 A.M. on November 3, 2006.

In court Friday, Dahms told Wake Superior Court Judge Don Stephens, "They showed me a picture and said, ‘Is this the guy?’ I said yes, it was."

Jason Young’s attorneys wanted to keep jurors from hearing her testimony at trial because they claim investigators should have used a photo lineup to have her identify the man who came into her store.

Dahms said she remembered the man because he cussed her out when she wouldn’t turn on the pump, forcing him to come inside to prepay.

"He got angry and threw a twenty dollar bill at me. I put twenty in [the register] but he got only fifteen," Dahms said.

But when asked by the lead prosecutor if should could describe the man she froze and went silent. After a long pause Dahms said, "I can’t remember exactly."

The judge jumped into the questioning, and Dahms said she remembered it was a white man. But when the judge asked if he was bald or what his hairstyle was she again seemed unsure. Later in the hearing, however, she was asked if she could identify the man she saw that morning in the courtroom, she pointed to Jason Young.

Dahm's testimony ended with questioning from the judge in which she said she would have been able to recognize Young in the courtroom just from their 2006 encounter - even if investigators hadn't shown her pictures of him on two different occasions.

Also, she said she had met with investigators and prosecutors recently and they told her "...it's very important - my information."

Judge Stephens ruled Dahms can testify at Young's trial. It's a blow to his alibi that he was at the motel in Virginia sleeping during the time of his wife’s murder.

The motel is 45 miles from the convenience store.

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