Defense: Young could not have killed wife

Jason Young's lead defense attorney Mike Klinkosum

June 23, 2011 3:25:37 PM PDT
The jury has begun deliberations in the trial of a Raleigh man accused of beating his pregnant wife to death in 2006.In his closing arguments Thursday, Jason Young's lead defense attorney said his client could not have killed his wife.

Mike Klinkosum called the case against Young purely circumstantial. He said the evidence showed there was a fight in the Young home and Jason had no marks on him afterwards.

"His hands were clean, no marks, no cuts, no bruises," said Klinkosum. "There was not a mark on Mr. Young. There was no indication he had been in a fight."

Klinkosum said investigators did not find any blood on Jason's clothes, in his car or in his hotel room in Virginia where he was staying while on a business trip the night of Michelle's murder.

"You would have expected to find blood on him ... It does not add up ...," he said. "Jason Young did not kill his wife and this case has not been solved ladies and gentlemen."

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 and a security camera in a stairwell was also unplugged.

However, Young was later seen in video on another camera walking through the hotel lobby.

"If he is such a genius to pull off a murder like this and move the hotel camera, why would he go in front of another camera and then in front of a witness."

Klinkosum also pointed out that Michelle Young's death was so brutal that the couple's 2-year-old daughter Cassidy tracked bloody footprints around the house and smeared blood on the bathroom wall.

One of the first Wake County deputies to arrive to the couple's Birchleaf Drive home shortly after Michelle Young's body was discovered said he saw that the bare footprints and smear marks appeared to have come from a child, however, he said when he saw the Young's 2-year-old daughter she did not have any blood on her.

"Who cleaned up Cassidy ... Jason Young could not have done that," Jason Young's other defense attorney Bryan Collins told the jury during closing arguments. "There were at least two people in that house (the night of Michelle's murder) and none of them were Jason Young."

Collins statement referred to DNA on two cigarette butts found in the Young house that pointed to two other unidentified men.

Klinkosum also pointed out that an unknown male's fingerprints were also found on a medicine dropper in Cassidy's room, referring to Wake County Sergeant Richard Spivey's testimony that the fingerprints on the cap of the dropper bottle didn't match either Jason or Michelle Young.

However, prosecutors have contended that Jason Young used the drug to put the child to sleep while he killed Michelle.

Sgt. Spivey testified during the trial that the dropper had DNA on it belonging to the Young's 2-year-old child. He said it also contained the prescription drug Dihydrocodeine, which Jason had access to as a representative for a pharmaceutical company.

Klinkosum told the jury the state wants them to convict Jason Young based on his behavior, referring to witness testimony that Jason had several affairs and fought with his wife. Jason himself also took the stand to admit he was not a good husband.

"He was a jerk," Klinkosum said.

State's Closing Arguments

Jason's attorneys wrapped up their closing arguments just after 11 a.m. After a brief break, Prosecutor David Saacks asked the jury what intruder would continue to beat on Michelle Young, but decide to leave the other witness - Young's daughter - unharmed?

"The evidence clearly shows this was a targeted murder," Saacks said.

He pointed out that only Michelle's wedding bands and two jewelry box drawers were taken, but the jewelry was left behind. He added that money, credit cards and various electronics were also not taken.

Saacks continued to dispute defense attorneys claims that the couple's daughter was cleaned off, referring to witness testimony that Michelle's friend saw Cassidy wearing almost the same clothes she was found in with Michelle's body, as the ones she was wearing hours before Michelle was killed.

Saacks ending with telling the jury that Jason Young stood up on the witness stand and said he loves his wife and daughter, but Saacks said "he has a twisted version of the definition."

"You have to wonder how much he loved Michelle as he was bludgeoning her to death ... Michelle had no other enemy other than the person she shared her bed with ... You have to wonder how much he loved Cassidy when he suddenly gave her up ... ladies and gentlemen this case is solved," Saacks said.

The jury got the case and began deliberating just after 3 p.m. Thursday.

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