Sister describes finding Michelle Young's body

Michelle Young's sister Meredith Fisher testifies.

February 6, 2012 4:34:36 PM PST
The prosecution and defense traded opening statements in Jason Young's second murder trial Monday.

Young, 37, is accused of beating his pregnant wife to death in their south Raleigh home in 2006. Young's first trial ended last June in a mistrial with the jury deadlocked at eight-to-four to acquit.

Monday, prosecutor Becky Holt told jurors Young cheated on his wife and called him immature and irresponsible. She said he was unhappy in his marriage, fought often with his wife, and had affairs with multiple women in the weeks before she said he killed her.

"Jason Young is responsible for the death of Michelle Young. He is guilty of first-degree murder," said Holt.

In his opening statement, Young's defense attorney Mike Klinkosum said his client did not kill his wife.

"This case has not been solved, ever," said Klinkosum

Young claims he was away on a business trip in Virginia on Nov. 3, 2006 when his wife was killed. Michelle was five months pregnant when she died. The Young's' daughter Cassidy - who was 2-years-old at the time - was found unharmed next to her mother's corpse. Investigators said her tiny bloody footprints were tracked throughout the upstairs floor of the home.

Michelle's sister found the body and the little girl.

"She heard Cassidy say 'Mommy got boo-boo'" Holt said.

Holt said the medical examiner's report showed Michelle died from 30 blows to head. She called it an intensely personal beating.

In his opening statement, Klinkosum said the evidence will show there was more than one set of footprints upstairs and detectives never accounted for a second person.

Klinkosum admitted that his client was a less-than-perfect husband, and often behaved "like a jerk," but he is not guilty of murder.

Holt said there was no sign of a forced entry to the home, and while some of her jewelry was missing, her purse, and none of the electronics in the house were taken.

Klinkosum said DNA was found on Michelle's jewelry box and the person who left it has never been identified.

In an unusual move for a murder trial last year, Young took the witness stand in his own defense. He admitted he and Michelle were having problems, but said he was working on his marriage and didn't kill his wife. He said he was asleep in a Hampton Inn in Hillsville, Va. when the murder happened.

Prosecutors said he had time to drive back to Raleigh, kill Michelle, and then drive back again. In her opening statement, Holt said there is evidence that the surveillance cameras at the hotel were tampered with to allow someone to get in and out of the building unseen.

"That camera in that stairwell had been found unplugged," said Holt.

She also said the door to the stairwell was propped open with a rock.

Klinkosum said it was impossible for Young to make the drive to Raleigh in the time prosecutors say he did it. He also said there were other fingerprints on the surveillance camera that were not Young's.

"The time does not add up," said Klinkosum. "The physical evidence in this case points to someone else."

After opening statements, Michelle Young's sister Meredith Fisher was the first to take the stand. She talked about her relationship with the Young's daughter.

"I moved down here the day she was born and fell in love with her," Fisher said.

In her testimony, Fisher also described the relationship between Young and his wife. She said it was rocky with frequent arguments that she was often called in to help mediate.

Fisher also spoke of the day she found her sister's body next to her bed in an upstairs bedroom.

"Michelle was lying on the floor," said Fisher. "There was a lot of blood."

Fisher said she next moved to call 911. That's when she spotted 2-year-old Cassidy who was under the covers of the bed.

"I had the phone in one hand and her on my left hip," said Fisher.

The 911 call was played for the jury.

"I think my sister is dead," Fisher told the 911 operator. "There's blood everywhere."

"She's cold," Fisher continued.

"If she's cold, there's probably not much we can do," the operator told Fisher.

Fisher is heard asking Cassidy if she knows what happened to her mommy.

There's no word if Young will take the stand in his own defense this time around. Holt has said she expects the new trial to last about six weeks.

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