Michelle Young's mother recalls couple's relationship

Michelle Young's mother Linda Fisher

June 17, 2011 10:08:28 AM PDT
Michelle Young's mother took the stand Friday morning in the murder case against her daugher's husband Jason Young.

Linda Fisher explained to the courtroom - at times in tears - her relationship with her daughter and her relationship with Jason before and after her daughter's death.

Michelle Young was 5-months pregnant with the couple's second child when she was beaten to death in their home on Birchleaf Drive in Raleigh on November 2, 2006. Jason told investigators he was on a business trip in Virginia the night of the murder. Investigators said the killer left the Young's 2-year-old daughter Cassidy with her mother's corpse for hours and her small bloody footprints were tracked throughout the home.

Prosecutors contend the Youngs were having marital and financial problems and Jason wanted out of the marriage. They claim he left the Hampton Inn where he was staying in Hillsville, Virginia and returned to the Triangle to kill Michelle.

Fisher said she witnessed fights between her daughter and Jason Young and said Young belittled Michelle. But during her testimony, Fisher said her daughter wanted to hold on to an ideal of marriage and children even though it wasn't working.

"When I was there that last time in October, we were sitting watching tv and she was, she had her head on my lap and she was lying out and I was stroking her hair and she was empty. She was just ... there was almost like nothing to live for."

Fisher broke down as she explained how Michelle confided the inmate details of her relationship with Jason. She said Michelle told her Jason "didn't make love to her, rather he was perverted about it."

Fisher recalled trying to talk to Jason about the marriage problems and said he told her that Michelle "doesn't want to have sex with him," that's why the marriage wasn't good. Fisher said she told Jason, " well, you don't want to have another woman," because that would be the end of the marriage.

Fisher then burst into tears saying her daughter deserved to live.

"She had so much to offer," she said. "Where was so much about Michelle that was just, she was an NC State cheerleader, I mean, she had that pep, that energy, that vivacious, you know, she loved life and he took it away from her, just took it away from her."

Fisher went on to say her other daughter Meredith, who found Michelle's body, called her to let her know Michelle had died.

"She said, 'mom, Michelle is D-E-A-D' and I'm like, 'what do you mean? That can't be, did she just pass out? Maybe she just passed out,'" Fisher said. "No, she's D-E-A-D."

Fisher said she tried to contact Jason after hearing the news, but he never called her back. Fisher, who lived in New York, said when she arrived in North Carolina and finally saw Jason face-to-face, he would only look down and was not crying.

She said he only said two things to her: "My lawyer told me I can't talk to anyone, not even you and I am going to take a hit on the house."

Fisher also said that Jason was not involved much in funeral arrangements for Michelle.

Following Michelle's funeral, Fisher said Jason left town with the Young's 2-year-old daughter and did not say good-bye.

Fisher said she was very upset when Jason moved to the North Carolina mountains with his parents, because she rarely could see her granddaughter.

Fisher said the visitation problems eventually led to her and her daughter Meredith hiring a lawyer to see Cassidy. She said after a lot of back and fourth about arraignments, she was "shocked" by Jason's sudden decision to hand over full custody to Meredith.

She said he wanted no questions asked and did not want Fisher to be a part of his daughter's life, among other things.

Fisher said her relationship with Jason deteriorated over the years. It would be two years after Michelle's death before he was charged with her murder.

During testimony, Fisher said she brought up concerns to her daughter about Jason and the couple's marriage. Fisher said at one point, about a month before Michelle's death, that she asked her daughter if she felt uncomfortable about one of Jason's female friends staying at the couple's house while Michelle was on a business trip in New York.

"Oh they are just friends," Fisher said Michelle reassured her.

Jason's female friend, Montana resident Carol Anne Sowerby, testified Thursday that she knew Jason Young from a North Carolina summer camp she attended as a teen. He taught kayaking.

Tearfully, Sowerby said she came to visit the Youngs in the fall of 2006, and she and Jason wound up having sex on the living room couch one night.

She said she was fearful her husband would find out.

"I remember saying we couldn't tell because I didn't want to hurt him or her," said Sowerby, referring to Jason's wife Michelle.

After her return to Montana, Sowerby said she learned of Michelle's death.

The defense has said it doesn't deny Jason was a less than model husband, but that doesn't make him a killer.

Sowerby said Jason visited her in Montana after Michelle's death. She testified she felt sorry for him and he seemed to shut down when the subject of his wife's death came up.

"He didn't really want to talk about it," she said.

Sowerby said she finally broke off all contact with Young at the request of her father who was visited by Wake County detectives. She said she had only recently told her husband about the sexual encounter in 2006.

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