Monday, December 14, 2009

Wake County, NC: Husband charged in Wake County mother's slaying

The husband of Michelle Young, a pregnant Wake County woman killed in her home more than three years ago, was charged Monday in her slaying.

Authorities arrested Jason Young, 35, in Brevard, N.C., after a grand jury indicted him on a charge of first-degree murder, Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison said.

Michelle Young, 29, was five months' pregnant when she was found beaten to death in her home on Nov. 3, 2006. Her then-2-year-old daughter, Cassidy, was found unharmed in the home.

Harrison said Transylvania County and Wake County deputies pulled Jason Young over at about 1:30 p.m., while he was driving and detained him without incident. He arrived at the Wake County jail Monday evening for booking and is expected to make his first court appearance Tuesday.

Jason Young who moved to 41 Mockingbird Lane in Brevard with his daughter after his wife's death, has long been a suspect, and in March, a Wake County judge awarded her family $15.5 million in damages in a wrongful death suit against him.

According to search warrants in the case, he told investigators he was out of town on business when his wife was killed. Michelle Young's sister, Meredith Fisher, found her body after he asked her to go to the couple's home to retrieve a fax.

Testifying during a hearing regarding the wrongful death lawsuit, sheriff's investigator R.C. Spivey called the slaying "particularly brutal."

"(It was) the most severe physical beating I've ever seen someone encounter," he said. "This [was] pretty extreme, a pretty vicious attack that she underwent."

An autopsy found Michelle Young died from blunt force trauma to the head after being hit at least 10 times. The report also suggests that her killer tried to strangle her before beating her to death.

Calls to Michelle Young's mother, Linda Fisher, and sister, Meredith Fisher – who has primary custody of Cassidy Young, were not immediately returned Monday afternoon.

Calls to Jason Young's attorney, Roger Smith Jr., also went unanswered.

Investigators haven't offered a motive for the killing, but in search warrants, investigators have described the couple's marriage as a "volatile" relationship that included violent arguments and infidelity on his part.

Other warrants implied Jason Young might have sneaked out of a Virginia hotel room the night his wife was killed, and others suggested Cassidy Young had been drugged to keep her quiet during the crime.

Prosecutors and investigators said Monday's arrest is a culmination of three years of hard work.

"They've been back to witnesses to try to gather small tidbits of information. They've looked at thousands of pages of documents," Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby said. "The investigators have doggedly pursued this and have done a very good job."

Harrison, who has kept a photo of Michelle Young on his desk since the beginning of the case, said investigators worked hard and that "everything had to be just right" before they could make the arrest.

"Her mother gave (the picture) to me, and it was a reminder every day that we had a case to solve, and we've been working diligently to solve it," he said. "It makes me feel good today to look down at the picture."

"(Jason Young's arrest) is part of a closure for both families, but still there's some ways to go," he continued. "It's sad, in some circumstances, because nobody's a winner in this."

Reporter: Amanda Lamb
Web Editor: Kelly Gardner

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