Young jury continues deliberations

Jason Young on the witness stand

June 27, 2011 8:13:22 AM PDT
The jury of 12 men and women deciding Jason Young's fate began their second full day of deliberations Monday. They got the case just after 3 p.m. Thursday.

Young, 37, is charged with beating his wife Michelle to death. She was 5-months pregnant with the couple's second child when she was found in their home on Birchleaf Drive in Raleigh on November 3, 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.

Before going to lunch Friday, the jury sent out 9 requests. Among other things, they wanted to see:

  • Surveillance video from a Cracker Barrel restaurant showing Jason's shoes the day before Michelle was killed.
  • Surveillance video from the Hampton Inn where Young said he was sleeping the night Michelle died
  • Photos of the clothes Jason was wearing at Cassidy's third birthday party
  • Crime scene photos of Cassidy's bathroom
  • A photo of an emergency exit at the Hampton Inn
  • A transcript of the 911 call Michelle's sister made when she found the body
  • An e-mail Jason sent to his former fiancé

Prosecutors contend the Youngs were having marital and financial problems and Jason - who had affairs with multiple women in the months before Michelle's death - 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.

Young and his defense have admitted he was far from a perfect husband, but that doesn't make him a killer.

Closing arguments

In his closing arguments Thursday, Jason Young's lead defense attorney went so far as to say 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

In their closing arguments, prosecutors asked the jury not to convict Jason Young because he was a bad husband, but because the evidence shows he killed Michelle.

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 inside 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.

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