Sister recounts finding Michelle Young's body

Michelle Young's sister Meredith Fisher testifes at the Jason Young trial.

June 7, 2011 9:00:00 PM PDT
The prosecution called its first witness Wednesday in the first-degree murder trial of a Raleigh man accused of beating his wife to death in 2006.

Jason Young, 37, claims he was on a business trip when his wife Michelle died in November of that year. Michelle was 5 months pregnant with the couple's second child.

Investigators said the killer left the Young's 2-year-old daughter Cassidy with her mother's corpse for hours and her bloody footprints were tracked throughout the home on Birchleaf Drive.

Michelle's sister Meredith Fisher discovered her body. She was first to testify for the prosecution Wednesday.

Fisher said Jason and Michelle married in 2003 after Michelle discovered she was pregnant. She described a volatile relationship with frequent arguments. Fisher said there were discussions about divorce.

Things got so bad, that Fisher said the couple relied on email to communicate because face-to-face discussions often escalated into yelling matches.

"They just couldn't talk. Things were much more civil in email," said Fisher.

On the day Fisher discovered her sister's body, she said Jason called and asked her to go by the Young's home. She testified that Jason told her to pick up a printout of a purse he intended to buy Michelle for their third wedding anniversary. He said he didn't want her to find it and spoil the surprise.

Fisher said as she approached the house in her car, she noticed outside lights were on and the gate was open which was unusual.

As she entered the house, Fisher said she went upstairs and noticed dark red stains all over the floor.

In the master bedroom, she saw her sister.

"A lot of blood and Michelle lying on the floor," said Fisher.

Fisher said 2-year-old Cassidy was on the bed.

"She climbed up off the bed and hugged on to me like a Koala bear," said Fisher.

"She said 'Mommy has boo-boos everywhere,'" Fisher recalled.

Fisher said she tried to help her sister, but her body was cold.

Jason - who worked as a pharmaceutical salesman - told investigators he was on a sales trip in Virginia the night his wife died.

When he returned to North Carolina on the day his wife's body was found, Fisher testified he came over to her home.

The police were there, and Fisher said Jason Young refused to speak with detectives.

"He wasn't willing to talk to police," said Fisher.

Fisher said Young wouldn't even come to the front door to listen to what they had to say.

"He wanted to speak to an attorney and wasn't willing to talk to police until he had an attorney," said Fisher.

Fisher said Young hugged her at one point and appeared to be sobbing, but she said when he pulled back his eyes were dry.

"It didn't seem genuine," said Fisher.

"Plan to murder"

In her opening statement Tuesday, prosecutor Rebecca Holt 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.

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 in his opening statement that his client was in Hillsville the night his wife died. And, he said there was evidence at the crime scene detectives ignored, including two sets of adult bloody footprints and 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.

Young moved to the North Carolina mountains with his daughter after Michelle's death. It would be two years before he was charged with her murder. He faces life in prison if convicted.

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