Young's defense calls witnesses

Jason Young and his defense team listen to testimony.

February 27, 2012 5:11:26 PM PST
Jason Young's trial in the alleged murder of his wife Michelle began Monday with the defense and prosecution sparring over a 2006 car accident.

Young, 37, is accused of beating his wife Michelle to death in their south Raleigh home in Nov. 2006. Their daughter - who was just 2-years-old at the time - was found next to the bloody corpse.

Prosecutors allege Young returned from a business trip in Virginia in the middle of the night to kill his wife and then secretly went back to his hotel room in Hillsville. Young maintains he never left the hotel, and his lawyers have said he did not have time to be all the places prosecutors claim he went.

The prosecution rested its case on Friday. The defense opened Monday by calling North Carolina Highway Patrol officer David Dicks to the witness stand. He told jurors he investigated a crash involving Young in Transylvania County in May, 2006 - months before Michelle was murdered.

Trooper Dicks told jurors Young was behind the wheel when the couple's SUV went off the road and down an embankment into the French Broad River. Dicks said both Jason and Michelle went to the hospital but returned to the accident scene. Dicks said his investigation showed Young went off the road in a turn, overcorrected and lost control. He called it a "typical" accident.

"You didn't see anything at the scene to make you think this was intentional did you?" asked Young defense attorney Mike Klinkosum.

"No sir," Dicks responded.

The prosecution probed the issue further, trying to get Dicks to say he had no way of knowing if the accident was intentional either. Dicks reiterated that it just seemed like a typical accident that could have happened anywhere in the state.

Previous witnesses have testified Michelle Young suffered a miscarriage after the crash.

Family testifies

Jason Young's sister, brother-in-law, mother and stepfather all described his reaction to news of the death of his pregnant wife Michelle.

"I just put my arm around him and told him how sorry I was," said Heather McCracken, Jason Young's sister. "We just cried and I told him Michelle was up in heaven with the sweet little boy and with our dad."

"I told him that Michelle was dead. And if I hadn't gotten a hold of him he would've fallen to the ground face first, broke out in tears," said Gerald McIntyre, Jason Young's stepfather.

"He said 'I not only lost my wife, I lost my son,'" recall Pat Young, Jason's mother.

At times during the testimony, Young wiped away tears.

His family also portrayed sheriff's investigators immediately focusing their attention on Jason Young. His mother told jurors that the first call she got from a detective was while they were driving to Raleigh with Jason in the car.

"Police called and asked if we were on the way," said Pat Young. "I said, 'yes.' They said, 'you better be.'"

Jason Young's family members testified that soon after his friends started calling with a warning.

"I'm not sure who called and said that we needed to get or Jason needed to get a lawyer because the police was asking some very disturbing questions," said Joe McCracken, Young's brother-in-law.

This is Young's second murder trial. His first ended last June with a deadlocked jury. 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.

It's not clear if he will testify this time around.

Pat Young is scheduled to back on the stand to continue direct examination Tuesday morning.

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