Jason Young found guilty of killing wife

Jason Young is sentenced to life in prison without parole.

March 5, 2012 7:23:48 PM PST
A jury found Jason Young guilty of first-degree murder Monday in the 2006 beating death of his pregnant wife Michelle.

Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens quickly sentenced the 37-year-old to life in prison without parole.

Michelle was five months pregnant when she died. During the trial, prosecutors called witnesses to testify about the couple's long history of marital problems and Jason's affairs with multiple women in the months before the murder.

Before sentencing, Young's defense made a motion to set aside the conviction, but Judge Stephens told the courtroom he had "no quarrel with this jury verdict."

He said the case was similar to just about every other case of domestic violence he has ever seen - saying the evidence clearly showed the relationship between Young and his wife escalated from unpleasant to volatile.

Stephens said the evidence showed Young continued to beat his wife long past the point where she was unconscious - to the point he was physically exhausted.

"This woman suffered a beating the likes of which we seldom see," he said.

Earlier in the trial, a medical examiner testified Michelle was hit in the head at least 30 times.

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 on Birchleaf Drive.

Prosecutors contend Young secretly returned from a business trip to Virginia to kill his wife by disabling a surveillance camera to sneak out of his hotel room. In court Monday, jurors appeared to be focused on Young's trip from Raleigh to a Hampton Inn in Hillsville, Va. They asked to see an inventory of what was in his luggage, some of his clothing, a USA Today newspaper from the hotel lobby, a map of North Carolina and Virginia, and a diagram of the first floor of the hotel.

The USA Today newspaper was significant because Young said he came to the hotel lobby to get one to see sports scores. Prosecutors said he used that time to disable the surveillance camera and didn't need to see scores because evidence from the computer he had in his room showed he was on sports websites at the time.

Details of the trip were just one facet of the prosecution's case. It returned over and over to his relationships with women. One of the witnesses was Young's former fiancé Genevieve Cargol who testified about an incident years before where Young got drunk, got angry with her, and they struggled over her engagement ring.

In his comments after the verdict Monday, Judge Stephens referenced that incident and remarked on the fact that Michelle's killer also stripped her engagement and wedding rings. Stephens said it showed Young has anger issues and obviously felt neither woman was fit to wear his rings any more.

Monday's guilty verdict was the prosecution's second attempt to put Young behind bars. At his first trial - which ended with a deadlocked jury last year - Young took the witness stand and admitted he was a less than perfect husband, but said he was working on his marriage and didn't kill his wife.

His conviction will be appealed.

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