Opening statements made in Young case

Jason Young appears in a Wake County courtroom

June 7, 2011 3:41:06 PM PDT
Lawyers made their opening statements Tuesday afternoon in the Jason Young trial.

Young was arrested in December 2009 and charged with murdering his pregnant wife, Michelle. He entered a formal not guilty plea at a hearing earlier this month.

Michelle's body was found by her sister in the Young's home south of Raleigh in November, 2006. Michelle, who was 5 months pregnant with the couple's second child, had been beaten to death. The couple's daughter Cassidy was 2-years-old at the time.

Investigators said the killer left Cassidy with her mother's corpse for hours and her bloody footprints were tracked throughout the home on Birchleaf Drive.

In her opening statement, prosecutor Rebecca Holt said the Youngs had a "volatile" relationship that included violent arguments. She said the Youngs were having serious financial and marital problems and that Jason was cheating on Michelle.

"The defendant had a plan. His plan was to murder his wife," said Holt.

Jason - who worked as a pharmaceutical salesman - told investigators he was on a sales trip in Virginia the night his wife died. But in search warrants filed in the case, investigators said a side door at the Hampton Hotel where Young stayed in Hillsville, VA was left propped open. A security camera in a stairwell was also unplugged.

Young is seen in video from another camera walking through the hotel lobby. Detectives said the clothes he was seen wearing have never been recovered.

But Young's attorney Mike Klinkosum told jurors his client was in Hillsville the night his wife died. And, he said there was evidence at the crime scene detectives ignored, including DNA on two cigarette butts found in the Young house that pointed to two other unidentified men.

Klinkosum said prosecutors will try and convict his client because he was not a good husband.

"He acted at times like an immature jerk, but that does not make him a killer," said Klinkosum.

There was an insurance policy on Michelle's life, but Jason never tried to collect. Not long after her death, he put their house up for sale and took their daughter to the North Carolina mountains where his mother lives.

At every turn, investigators say Young refused to talk about the case, even when Michelle's mother sued him in civil court for wrongful death and custody of Cassidy.

A civil judge declared Jason Young his wife's murderer and another judge gave custody of his child to Michelle's mother and awarded her family more than $15 million.

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