Judge allows daycare worker to testify

February 17, 2012 7:30:23 PM PST
On the tenth day of Jason Young's re-trial -- and what would have been his wife Michelle's 35th birthday -- prosecutors asked the judge to allow the couple's daughter's daycare teacher to testify.

At a hearing outside of the jury's presence, Wake County Assistant District Attorney Howard Cummings told the judge that in the days following Michelle's murder, the daycare worker witnessed strange behavior for the two-year-old.

"Cassidy sort of stayed to herself which was unusual for her.  Cassidy was playing with a doll house outside," Cummings said.  "She laid the momma doll face down on the bed and she had another doll. She said the momma doll had a boo-boo and was being spanked for biting the doll.  Cassidy did not try to identify the other doll."

The defense objected on several legal fronts, but ultimately the judge ruled the daycare worker will be allowed to testify with limitations.

He will have her testify first outside the jury's presence. The jury cannot use the information to determine the assailant, but only to determine whether Cassidy may have witnessed the assault.

Jason is charged with his wife's murder. Michelle was beaten to death in their south Raleigh home on Nov. 3, 2006. The 29-year-old was pregnant with the couple's second child when she died. Cassidy was found unharmed in a bed next to the body.

Prosecutors allege Jason returned from a business trip in Virginia in the middle of the night to kill his wife and then secretly returned to his hotel room in Hillsville. Young maintains he never left the hotel.

On the witness stand Friday, a crime scene investigator told the jury about bloody footprints that were found near the pregnant mother's body. The witness testified that along with the tiny bloody footprints left by the Young's daughter, there were also adult-sized footprints discovered near Michelle's body.

The adult footprints were found on a pillow cover and on the carpet in the couple's upstairs master bedroom.

"There were two very distinctive elements from one impression to the other. And I felt the likelihood are that they were from two different shoes," crime scene investigator Andy Parker said.

Parker said he compared the prints to nine pairs of shoes found in Jason's closet.

"All of the shoes were excluded as having been the donor of those impressions," he said.

One print was identified as a sole pattern used on several inexpensive brands of sneakers - including a pair Parker used as an example in court. He told jurors the print was from a size 10 shoe, but all of Jason's shoes were either size 12 or 13.

The crime scene investigator determined a second shoe print was from a Hush Puppies brand shoe, but could not size it.

In the first trial, there was evidence Jason bought a similar pair of Hush Puppies, leaving the impression he could have left the print. However on Friday, one of his attorneys headed off evidence before the new jury even heard it.

Investigators never found either pair of shoes.

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