Daycare workers testify in Young trial

Daycare workers Ashley Palatier and Brooke Bass testify.

February 20, 2012 11:21:35 AM PST
Two daycare workers told jurors Monday that Jason and Michelle Young's 2-year-old daughter Cassidy behaved differently when she returned after her mother was murdered.

Brooke Bass and Sheley Palmatier said Cassidy came back to daycare the week after Michelle Young was found beaten to death in her south Raleigh home on Nov. 3. 2006. Cassidy was found in a bed next to the body. She was unharmed.

Investigators said it appeared the child was left with the bloody corpse for hours and her bloody footprints were tracked throughout the upstairs of the home on Birchleaf Drive.

On the witness stand, the women said Cassidy was normally a social child, but when she returned, she was more withdrawn.

Bass recounted an incident where Cassidy was playing by herself with dolls at a table on the back porch of the daycare.

"I saw her kinda hitting them together," said Bass.

Palmatier said she approached Cassidy and asked her what she was doing.

"'Mommy is getting a spanking. Mommy has red stuff all over. Mommy has boo-boos all over,'" Palmatier said Cassidy told her.

Palmatier said Cassidy placed the mommy doll face down on a bed in a dollhouse she was playing with.

On cross-examination, Young's attorney Mike Klinkosum asked Palmatier: "She never identified who the other doll was?"

Palmatier said Cassidy did not.

Jason Young is on trial for the second time in the death of his wife. The 29-year-old was pregnant with the couple's second child when she died.

Bass said she spoke with Young about the pregnancy after his wife's death, and he explained why he agreed to have a second child.

"[He said it was the] only way he could get Michelle to have sex with him," said Bass.

Other witnesses in the trial have testified that Young complained regularly and publically about his sex life with Michelle. Last week, two women testified that they had affairs with him in the weeks leading up to the murder.

Young's defense objected to allowing the daycare workers to testify. Wake Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens instructed the jury that they could only use the testimony to determine if Cassidy witnessed the murder, but not the identity of the killer.

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.

The prosecution has painted Young as an immature man who fought frequently with his wife and had multiple affairs. It alleges he tampered with a surveillance camera at his hotel and was spotted by a gas station clerk buying gas between Hillsville and Raleigh.

It's not clear if Young plans to testify in his own defense as he did in his first trial. The first ended with a hung jury last June. At his first trial, Young took the witness stand and admitted he and Michelle were having problems, but said he was working on his marriage and didn't kill his wife.

The trial is expected to last several more weeks.

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