Appeal heard in Jason Young case


Attorneys for Jason Young went before the North Carolina Court of Appeals Thursday morning.

It could be months before the judges decide whether Young should get a new trial, but they were interested in several specific parts of his second trial that convicted him.

Michelle Young was found beaten to death seven years ago at the Raleigh home she shared with her husband and their toddler daughter. The couple's daughter was at home at the time of Michelle's death, but was not injured.

Jason Young was charged years later with the crime.

At his first trial in 2011, a jury couldn't come to a verdict deadlocking 8-to-4 for acquittal.

Eight months later, he was tried again and convicted, after prosecutors introduced evidence that wasn't used in the first trial.

At the trial, a medical examiner testified Michelle was hit in the head at least 30 times. Prosecutors said 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 his first trial, 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. He did not testify at his second trial, but the jury was shown the video of him testifying.

He is currently serving a life sentence.

Now Young's new attorneys argue that his trial attorney should have objected more strenuously when the judge allowed jurors to hear that Young did not respond to a civil wrongful death lawsuit that found him responsible for his wife's murder.

They claimed there were other parts of the trial in which the judge erred -- like allowing jurors to hear testimony that the couple's two-year-old daughter banged dolls together at her daycare and said "Mommy's getting a spanking ..."

"We've raised very serious issues for the court's consideration and we simply want a verdict that the public can have confidence in," Jason Young's attorney Barbara Blackman said.

However, attorneys for the state said all that was done legally and that the judge's instructions to the jury back up their contention.

"Feel confident in the verdict that has been entered, feel confident in the justice system and in Howard Cummings, Becky Holt, judge Stephens' rulings, and the jury came to the right verdict," said Meredith Fisher, Michelle Young's sister following Thursday's hearing. "And we're confident it'll stay."

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