New trial ordered for Jason Young in wife's murder


North Carolina Court of Appeals posted the order Tuesday morning.

Click here to read the opinion

Michelle Young was found beaten to death in November, 2006 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.

At an appeal hearing, Young's new attorneys argued 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.

In its ruling, the appeals court agreed, saying that the jurors should also not have heard about Young's battle with his wife's parents over custody of his daughter.

They claimed there were other parts of the trial in which Judge Donald W. Stephens 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 ..."

In its ruling, the appeals court disagreed, saying Stephens was correct in allowing the testimony.

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