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Tue, 19 May 2020 10:00
In this Dateline classic, Michelle Young, pregnant with her second child, is brutally murdered while her husband Jason is away on business. Who would kill this beloved young mother? Keith Morrison reports. Originally aired on NBC on March 30, 2012.
My mother called and says Michelle's dead. How is that possible? A young mother found brutally murdered, her little girl left to wander in her mother's blood. Police had a suspect and they say he had a motive. We had an intimate relationship, ended up having sex, but could they prove he was the killer? It was a circumstantial case. Except for that witness, the girl who left those footprints. We will never know what Cassidy saw and what she didn't see. Maybe she couldn't tell detectives who the? Tyler was, but maybe she didn't have to. The fact that Cassidy was spared, would that mean anything to a jury? The person that killed the mother cared about Cassidy. And now a stunning twist in the case. I'm Lester Holt and this is Dateline. Here's Keith Morrison with silent witness. I think I paused for a second and had to take a deep breath. And. Just the reality of what was going on sink in. Those who saw the footprints will not forget them. They were tiny and they were bloody. I had to get my composure to finish searching this House to make sure there was nobody else in the house. It was the 3rd of November 2006. Early afternoon. Deputy Scott Earp of the Wake County Sheriff's Department had been dispatched to a quiet and leafy neighborhood called Enchanted Oaks, the outskirts of Raleigh, NC here because of the 911 call from this place on Birchleaf Drive. Can you tell me what happened, ma'am? I have no idea. Who. My God, the caller was Meredith Fisher. She had just discovered on the floor of the master bedroom the savagely beaten body of her elder sister, 29 year old Michelle Young, a woman who, in death was about to be famous. Tell you what to do, but you need to calm down so you can help. Or you said there's blood everywhere. Listen to me, ma'am. I'm listening. Is she breathing? I don't think so. Baby. Checked, Michelle. She was cool as she spoke. Meredith was cradling her 2 1/2 year old niece Cassidy, who had crawled out from under the bedclothes on her parents bed just feet from where her mother lay. Cassidy's voice, chattering to her aunt, was caught on the recorded call. Had Cassidy witnessed the murder? Awakened alone, defined this, you know, you just picture a small child walking around in this blood and tracking it across the hallway over into the bathroom. But now Wake County investigators were descending on the House and having secured the crime scene ERP's job was done. But on his way out, he saw Cassidy again. She was still in her pink pajamas, still in Meredith's arms. He asked Meredith a question. I looked over to child. I didn't see any blood. So I asked her, did you clean the child? And her response was no. I thought it was kind of odd because I was expecting her to say yes. I guess somebody did. Somebody did. But who was it? The same person who murdered the little girl's mother on this November day? All they had were questions. Sergeant Richard Spivey of the Wake County Sheriff's Office probably knows the case better than anyone. I mean, this was a. It was a brutal, vicious beating. There was a lot of time and energy invested into this assault. What are you seeing? A lot of time and energy? I think the medical examiner told us there was over 30 blows with some sort of a blunt object. So detectives started investigating the victim and everyone else around her. Michelle Young was born and raised on Long Island, New York. She was smiling all the time and she was the life of the party. Stacia Grossman knew her from childhood. She didn't like being the center of attention, but she liked creating a great atmosphere for everyone to have a good time. Michelle was a cheerleader in high school and a straight A student. Jennifer Powers felt drawn to her. She had this kind of bookworm signed to her, where she was very studious and goal oriented. I mean, she was also just a great person to be around, a fun, happy spirit, and you know, someone that I wanted to spend a lot of time with. Lots of people did. And when she chose a college far from home, North Carolina State, she was soon surrounded again by an admiring group of women friends, best Friends, Buddies. Fiona Childs was her sorority big sister. There's this one picture and it's like, it just came out beautiful and we liked it because we thought we kind of looked like Charlie's angels pose without intentionally doing that. It was sometime in 2001 when friends started hearing about Michelle's new guy. A fellow student named Jason Young Heard how he'd grown up in the North Carolina Mountains, how he loved to camp, how he was a life of tailgate parties. Michelle fell hard and fast. They seemed like a good couple. He was different from other men that she had dated in the past. He wasn't as serious about a career as she was. He was a little bit less sophisticated than Michelle was, but she seemed to be very happy with him. Michelle and Jason married in October 2003. The day after the wedding, they shared their big secret Michelle was pregnant. Their daughter, Cassidy, was born early the next year. I love you too. And when she came along, it was love at first sight. Yeah, uh. Michelle was an enthusiastic mother. By all accounts, Jason was a good dad. He was a great playmate. He knew how to sit on the floor and play with his daughter, you know? For the Big Fine house on Birch Leaf in 2005, both of them worked. He a salesman, Shia financial specialist. In the summer of 2006, Michelle got pregnant again. They kept the news to themselves, but it was clear something good was happening. The comment he said to me was. He's excited to have another baby, not implying that she was pregnant, but that he was excited at the prospect of it. But just a few months later, Michelle was dead. Jason was 170 miles away in Virginia on a business trip the night of the murder. He heard the news the next afternoon and returned to Raleigh. Stacia Grossman got word from her mother. My mother called and says Michelle's dead and I said Michelle Wu. Some celebrity like, what are you talking about? Like, what do you mean like that? How is that possible? What happened? The very questions that Wake County investigators were asking themselves? When we come back, a security camera provides a critical clue. It's not what it caught on tape, it's what it missed and why there was a camera there that had been unplugged. Who had something to hide? The facts were stark and ugly. One night in November 2006, while her husband was away on business, Michelle Young was attacked in her own bedroom and brutally beaten to death, her body discovered the next day by her sister Meredith, along with her 2 1/2 year old daughter Cassidy, who'd been left to wander. In her blood. For the investigators who set out to find her killer, no way to get those little footprints out of their minds. Sergeant Richard Spivey, lead investigator. Those of us who work in law enforcement. This is our profession, but we're also parents. That certainly strikes a different note with you when you see something like that. Michelle's husband Jason, a medical software salesman, was 170 miles away the night of the murder. Even so, investigators had to look at him. We know that he was the last person to talk to Michelle that night. And he was also the reason why she was found. He called Meredith Fisher to go to the house. Jason Young's business trip that night was routine. Security tape showed him getting gas about 7:30 PM as he left Raleigh. 2 hours later, he was seen on tape at a Cracker Barrel restaurant in Greensboro. Later he checked into this Hampton Inn in Hillsville, VA. This is him front desk about 11:00 PM and him again at midnight. He also made a phone call around midnight, and that was the last time anybody heard from Jason Young until he made another call at 7:40 the next morning. A normal person would look at this and say he was 170 miles away. He's got an alibi. That that sounds like a great distance, you know? But 170 miles you can get between the crime scene and the hotel and about 2 1/2 hours perhaps. But there were curious anomalies at the crime scene. Couldn't explain them. A jewelry box was missing 2 drawers. So was it a bungled burglary? Then there were footprints near the body that seemed to eliminate Jason and obvious. Print on the pillow was a size 10, but Jason wore a size 12. But this was weird. There was another partial footprint. It defied easy identification. So they began calling in shoe experts. And now they wondered where the two attackers. Of course, investigators discovered early on that Michelle and Jason's marriage was strained. And in the last weeks of Michelle's life, things were not good. At our friend's wedding, he was so drunk. I just. Really out of it. When we got to the wedding, our friends were letting us know. That Michelle and Jason were fighting and they were referring to it as World War 3, Jennifer Powers told investigators about another fight that October. Michelle wanted her mother to stay with them for the holidays, and Jason, who had a tense relationship with his mother-in-law, wanted to limit her stay and said so in an e-mail along with another nugget he wrote. Our marriage has seen better days and I don't see it trending up, and I remember that really striking. Chord with me, because I didn't know that their marriage had seen better days, so of course investigators wanted to interview Jason Young. Maybe he could tell them something. But he. Refused to talk to them. He talked to the lawyer and then, under the advice of the of counsel, he declined to speak with us at all. Didn't ask about it. Didn't ask how his wife died, no. Perhaps investigators thought that business trip deserved a second look, so they went to the hotel, poked around, and discovered some odd activities that night. In a stairwell near an exit. There was a camera there that had been unplugged. Really? Yes, it was one of the side exits of the hotel, one of the like the fire stairs that go down to the first floor. Was there any other tampering with the door that was adjacent to where this? Cameras located. That door also had been propped open that night. How do you know that the gentleman that was working as the clerk that night found a rock that had been placed in the door to keep the door from from closing? Well, then they plug the camera back in so it's now working again. And at about 6:35 that morning, suddenly that camera is pointing straight at the ceiling. Same camera, same camera. And it's tampered with yet again. Was Jason Young's work? Is it possible he did make the 340 mile round trip? Could he have killed his wife and cleaned up his daughter all in 7 1/2 hours without ever being seen? To find out, investigators played a hunch. They visited every gas station along the route, showed Jason's photo, talked to the night clerks. And came across a woman named Gracie Dahms in a tiny place called King NC. She took one look at that photograph and recognized it instantly. He was the foul mouthed customer, she said, who came storming into the store to complain that the pumps were locked. And what time was it? 5:30 AM morning of the murder. There was actually an altercation between the two of them, so you have a reason why she would remember him as opposed to any other cops customer that may have just happened into the store. If that attendant was right, investigators may have undercut Jason's alibi. Still, it wasn't enough, so they plotted ahead. Painstaking work took time. And then, years after the murder, they finally got a match for that partial footprint. The State Bureau of Investigation and the the FBI were able to eventually identify that shoe as a hush puppy orbital shoe, and it was a size 12, which is the same size that he wore. Throughout the investigation, Jason steadfastly maintained his silence. And rather than face a legal battle where he'd be asked some tough questions, Spivey said he even gave Michele's family custody of his daughter. Everyone that we spoke with, all of them, talked about how much he loved Cassidy and what a great dad he was. To just turn over primary custody. That was that was very surprising. Investigators had heard enough. They believed they had a case. Circumstantial, but a case. And three years after Michelle Young's body was found on the bedroom floor, Jason Young was charged with her murder. Investigators and prosecutors knew that very little pointed directly toward Jason Young. But so far nothing's pointed away. Coming up the case against Jason Young as an alleged killer and as a cheating husband, we had an intimate relationship. For the two days that he was there, he ended up having sex. Never settle down when Dateline continues. You may be able to help solve a mystery. Can you help bring a missing person home? We need anyone who saw something to come forward. I'm Josh mankiewicz. And I'm Andrea canning. And this is Dateline missing in America. In each episode, we'll focus on one missing person. Where are they? Listen closely as we tell these stories and follow the clues that could lead you to help crack a case day line missing in America. Listen to the full season now. I'm Lester Holt with NBC Nightly News. The past couple of years have been challenging and exhausting for so many, and the headlines can often feel overwhelming. We all want answers. We want to know what it all means for us and our families. These are the questions we try to answer every night, making sense of the major stories and learning about the people and moments that inspire us. I hope you'll join me every evening. NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt. Jason Young went on trial for the murder of his pregnant wife, Michelle, in June 2011. By then, he'd spent 18 months in a jail cell. The guy who lived for tailgates, the guy who loved to party. That guy was long gone. Prosecutor Becky Holt opened for the state. Defendant had a plan. His plan was to murder his wife. This plan was to get away with it. With no murder weapon found, the prosecution's case was built on that partial shoe print. They knew now that Jason once owned a pair of hush puppies like these that matched the print they were now missing. They also told jurors about that early morning visit to the gas station and the suspicious activity at the hotel. But the thrust of their case was this. Jason Young was trying, in the most violent possible way, to get out of a troubled marriage. Were you aware of tensions? In that marriage, yeah, I was well aware. Heard of Fischer. Michelle's sister, lived near the couple and for a period was Cassidy's nanny. As the Young's fights intensified, she took on the role of a marriage counselor too. What would you say were the main issues? Michelle's main issues were Jason being more responsible, understanding her more, and his main concern was? Their lack of sex life. Prosecutors called Friends to the stand to paint a picture of a marriage that was unravelling out loud and in public. Jason made it very well known that, you know, he was upset about the lack of sex and the relationship and at parties, said Fiona Childs. Jason's X-rated tricks were famously over the top. Did it myself. I would just hear about it and you know, he would expose himself and do what he thought was these funny tricks and I was always just rather embarrassed for Michelle. He never settled down and it was as if he was still living the single life and he never bought into the marriage and. What that what all that meant. In October 2006, when Michelle was four months pregnant, Jason became deeply involved with another woman. And not just any woman. Michelle Money was one of Michelle Young's close friends from college, one of those Charlie's angels. In early October, days before his 3rd wedding anniversary, Jason flew to Florida to see Michelle money, she testified. They both knew it was wrong. We basically just hung out at the house and. We had an intimate relationship for the two days that he was there. Jason was crazy about her with his friend Josh, Alton said. He basically told me that he thought he was in love with her. Michelle's mother, Linda Fisher, testified that in the final weeks of Michelle's life, she could see the toll the failing marriage was taking on her pregnant daughter. She had her head on my lap. And she was lying out, and I was. Stroking her hair. And. She was. Empty. And what did she tell you? Things weren't working out with Jason? Two days before she was murdered, Michelle phoned her sister Meredith to report yet another blow up with Jason. She was just, I've had it. She said that you know, more than one time, I just I can't do this anymore. Jason was telling one of his close friends the same thing, and prosecutors said just days before Michelle was murdered, he indulged in one last transgression. A casual hookup with an old friend named Carol Ann Sowerby in his own living room. Michelle was away at the time Cassidy was put down to bed. And. I had a couple drinks just were talking and. Umm. You ended up having sex. Divorce was apparently not an option for Jason. He had made a statement at one time that he if he was afraid that if he ever got a divorce that Michelle would take Cassidy and move back to New York. And did he indicate to you that he would have some concerns about ever being able to see casting again? Still, one big question remained. Was a good time guy like Jason Young even capable of murder? Genevieve Cargo was engaged to Jason in 1999 before he met Michelle, and she took the stand to testify about a fight they'd had. That's right. Over Jason's excessive drinking, he became agitated. He said something to the effect of if I'm going to make such a terrible husband, then I then give me my ring back. Did you give it to the defendant? No. He began trying to pull the ring off, and it wouldn't come off. He was throwing me from one bed. To the other and jumping on me with all his weight and pinning my arms, both of them behind me. Prosecutors hope to convince the jury at all added up to a motive for murder. So how would the defense counterattack? With a witness who could refute every charge. Coming up, Jason Young finally breaks his silence as he takes the stand to testify. Did you kill your wife, Michelle? No, Sir. Were you there when it happened? No, Sir. What? The prosecution didn't tell you there's an art to the business of criminal defense, and it would take a true artist to repaint the prosecution's dark portrait of Jason Young. So what could defense attorney Mike Klinko Isom do? Well, to begin with, as he told the jury, he agreed with the prosecution. Jason Young was not a good husband. He acted at times like an immature jerk, but that does not make him a killer. The defense was not about to make anymore concessions, mind you. What's even more of that jewelry box in the bedroom there was DNA on it didn't match either Michelle or Jason the suspicious activity at the hotel. There was a fingerprint on that camera and it wasn't Jason Young's and there wasn't any forensic evidence that tied Jason to the crime scene. And there was no blood in his car. There was not a scratch on him. Ladies and gentlemen, Jason Lynn Young did not murder his wife. He did not murder their unborn son. And this case has not been solved. Who better to make that argument than Jason Young himself? But so far? Remember, he had never said a word to anyone about that November night and almost five years silence. And it's always a big decision for defense attorneys whether or not to call their clients. Beth Harris is a former prosecutor and legal analyst. She covered the trial. This is a case that really begged for Jason Young to testify. Innocent all the time, right? And if he's truly innocent, get on the stand and tell the story. We call Jason Young. His mother sitting in the front row, Jason Young prepared to do just that. Defense attorney Brian Collins hit it hard off the top. Did you kill your wife, Michelle? No, Sir. Were you there when it happened? No, Sir. But what about Jason's missing hush puppies that matched the partial shoe print? He no longer owned them, he said. Are those the shoes that you had on on November the 2nd? No, Sir. They're all ratty. You said. Told Michelle to give them to goodwill. And As for the night of the murder? After he checked into the hotel, Jason testified he left his room twice, the first time to get a power cord for his laptop. I was going over the the the sales call that I had the next day. The second trip, he testified, was to smoke a cigar. I had to go outside to smoke the cigar, and I also wanted to look at some. Sports. Schedules and some standings, and so I wanted to see if I could pick up the USA TODAY as well. That newspaper run explained why he was seen at the front desk. He's at around midnight. So between the time you smoked cigar and went back upstairs and went to sleep, did you leave that room until the next morning? Morning after his sales call, Jason testified he realized he'd left some eBay printouts sitting on the computer printer at home. They showed purses. He was thinking of buying one for Michelle as a belated anniversary present and I realized I didn't bring those papers. And why was it important to you that somebody get those papers? Because I wanted it to be a surprise. I surprised Michelle means so much more than anything. So around noon November 3rd he called his sister-in-law Meredith from the car to ask if she'd go to the house and get those eBay papers. November 3rd he left Meredith voicemail. Over there and see if you can find it sitting on the computer. Then he headed to his mother's place in the mountains nearby, and it was there, he testified hours later that he learned Michelle had been murdered. I just, I just, I just fell. I just, I just, I broke on the inside. I just broke and I didn't believe it. But family members drove him back to Raleigh. During the drive, he said, his friends called Ryan, and Josh had said that the investigators were. Asking really ugly questions and pointing their finger at me and and and doing things like that. And they said you don't need to talk to anybody. You need to. You need to get a lawyer before you talk to anybody. And then the explanation for his long silence. The lawyer that I got after talking with him, he actually advised me to to not go talk to the police. Did you take that advice? Yes Sir, I did. Did he also tell you not to talk to anybody about it? That's actually exactly what he said. They don't talk to anybody about anything. The defense also addressed the motives prosecutors have laid out that Jason wanted to escape a bad marriage and keep custody of Cassidy and spend time with his new love. Did you have any designs in your own mind of leaving Michelle Young for Michelle money? From one on, I think we both knew it was wrong. I don't think we either won. Dream that. It would ever be found out, pushing me around. As for that violent episode with his ex fiance, Jason had an explanation for it. Did you throw her around on the bed like she said? No Sir, what I did was wrong. I I did pin her down and I took the ring. What was your level of intoxication at that time? I was, I was, I was very intoxicated. But I don't. I don't feel like that's an excuse for what I did. And they questioned him about the most important woman in his life. Did you want to stay married to Michelle? Yes, I did. I wanted to have have another baby and I wanted the family to to grow. He also explained why he gave up custody of his daughter without a fight. Were you able to afford a lawyer for a full blown custody battle? Knows right? Due to the media and some of the Internet website, the job that I had I lost. I lost it. His testimony lasted 3 hours. Jason Young was a very good witness. He understood what he had to do when he was on the stand, so he didn't come off as contrived or phony like he had put this together very carefully in order to account for all the evidence that they had. He had access to police reports. And all the discovery he knew the state's vulnerabilities. And so he could. Arguably, Taylor has testimony. To. Fit with an innocent explanation. How did Jason Young do? 12 jurors were about to decide. Coming up, the prosecutor gets her chance to go one-on-one with Jason Young and it isn't pretty. Well, you working on your marriage when you are having sex with Caroline Sowerby and your home when Dateline continues. Hey, everybody. It's Savannah Guthrie. And I'm hoda. Copy, and we've got some great news to share. the Today show is now available wherever you get your podcast. Can you believe that right now, you can get your daily dose of news and headlines and the day's top interviews from us right here every single morning. We have what you need to start your day, and it's available every day, wherever you get your podcast. So why not subscribe and follow today to start listening? Desire deception. And a double cross. A deadly love story only Dateline and Keith Morrison can tell. It's a story about a woman who needed her husband dead. If only she could find someone man enough to do it. Listen to the full season now. Show me the truth, the whole truth. It was riveting. Almost five years of silence about his wife's murder and went back to my room, broken here in this courtroom. I loved Cassidy and I loved Michelle. And then he went to murder his wife. Now prosecutor Becky Holt began pulling apart a story. She had just heard for the first time, were you working on your marriage when you were having sex with Caroline Sowerby in your home? Less than two weeks before your wife was murdered? No, ma'am, that was not the way to work on a marriage that was very detrimental. Were you working on your marriage when you called Michelle money? Michelle and I confided a lot in each other and we talked about my issues with with my wife and she talked about her issues with her husband. So is the answer yes. When you had an affair with Michelle money that you were working on your marriage? No ma'am, having the sexual intercourse and having the intimacy was was? Very detrimental to that. The cross examination lasted a full hour and the next day the case went to the jury, retired to the jury. Deliberation room soon became clear jurors were having trouble, but authenticated that y'all have not yet reached a unanimous decision. The jurors were split six to six. The judge sent them back to try to make it unanimous. Everybody else remained July 1st, 2nd, but hours later they were back and courtroom 3C was still. It appears that they are hopelessly deadlocked at this point. 8 jurors had voted for acquittal, 4 voted guilty. Judge Stevens declared a mistrial. Was serious consideration given to dropping the case? I think there was serious consideration as to is there more we can do? So the prosecutors decided they would try again, but this time with the one thing they didn't have the first time. Jason's own story. The second trial began in February 2012. This time, Howard Cummings led the prosecution, hoping to use Jason's own words to convict him. But you left hand on the Bible. Raise your right hand place. But first, prosecutors called that night clerk at the gas station Gracie, who remembered Jason complaining about the locked pumps. When he came in to pay, he started cussing and raising cane. At what time did this happen? That was about five 5:30 in the morning. The time when Jason said he was at the hotel tonight once, then prosecutors had new witnesses and new testimony. They wanted jurors to hear about Cassidy, whose bloody footprints they contended made her a silent witness to murder. When I got to Cassidy, I said, what are you doing? Daycare worker Ashley Parmentier took the stand. I noticed what she was doing, told jurors she watched Cassidy playing alone days after her mother was murdered. She had the chair and the doll in her hand together, and then the mommy doll and the other hand, and she just hit him. As unsettling as it was, the prosecutors wanted jurors to know the killer had left a silent witness behind, a witness he would never harm. The fact that Cassidy was spared, did that mean anything to you? Or would that mean anything to a jury? But the person that killed the mother we felt cared about Cassidy. The child took the stand. Prosecutors pressed her about a life insurance policy Jason arranged. It did raise a red flag, and Michelle had questioned that she brought up specifically her life insurance. She brought it up several times, asking me, didn't I think that $1,000,000 was too much and did they really need that? After Michelle died, Fiona found out the true amount of the policy was actually $4 million. Like in total shock like that. That is incredibly excessive based. And prosecutors also told the jury about civil lawsuits against Jason brought by Michelle's mother and sister. One was a wrongful death case filed in 2008, a year before he was charged with murder. Over the defense's objection, court clerk Lauren Freeman testified about that lawsuit. There is an alleged paragraph, paragraph 6, again reading verbatim from the record in the early morning hours of November. Her 2006 Jason Young brutally murdered Michelle Young at their residence. Freeman went on to testify that Jason never responded to the allegations and that led to a default judgment against him. That judgment said Jason killed his wife. A default judgment does not mean the facts alleged in the civil complaint are true. It does not mean he's guilty and the judge at the criminal trial told the jury that and his instructions, however. When you hear the statement. Jason Young brutally murdered his wife. But that doesn't mean he's guilty, folks. Hello, you know, and the prosecutor made sure the jury heard just who signed that ruling? I'm reading from this judgment, which is signed actually by Judge Stevens. Judge Stevens, the very judge sitting before them in this trial, the jury hearing act. It's just something that's going to carry a lot of weight. This is the complaint that was filed in December seeking custody of. Cassidy prosecutors also called the attorney involved in that custody case over her daughter Cassidy, and those same allegations were repeated yet again. The jury heard several times through these two civil complaints that Jason Young brutally murdered Michelle Fisher Young. The headline act came when prosecutors played Jason Young's entire testimony from the first trial. I wanted her to have it and began to rip it apart. I don't remember. Prosecutors tried to show that Jason's called to Meredith to pick up those eBay printouts. It was merely a ploy to get her to discover the body and find Cassidy. Why else would he print an eBay auction ad and leave it on the printer and then hit the road where he couldn't bid during the actual auction? They called Sergeant. Privy to the stand that auction was going to end 8:00 o'clock PM Eastern Standard Time. And what day was that? That was on November the 2nd, 2006, just hours before the murder. Now prosecutors tried to prove Jason lied about his reasons for leaving the hotel room. I didn't pull the door all the way to his original testimony, he told the court. He left the first time to get a power cord for his laptop. Why was it that you wanted to look on your laptop? I was going over the. The sales call that I had the next day, but special Agent Mike Smith took the stand to say young didn't use his laptop for work that night. It's an Internet site dedicated to sports. Jason said he went out a second time to smoke a cigar but prosecutors contended Jason was a fierce anti smoker and the weather that night was freezing windy, can you tell me whether or not there was ever any substantial outerwear that the defendant? Either had in his luggage or was wearing no. So there was a, I think a suit jacket. OK, that was the only outerwear that I'm aware of. Jason chose not to testify this time, but the defense fought back, of course, they argued the gas station attendants memory couldn't be trusted because of a childhood brain injury. I've had memory problems since 06 because I've been through a lot with myself and my kids and my ex-husband, the defense also. Argued the case really wasn't solved, that there was no physical evidence to prove Jason was the killer. There wasn't one scratch on Mr. Young, no that he would never have had time to make that trip and commit murder, that he didn't have the mindset of a killer, and that cigar. They showed that Jason Young actually owned a humidor and he'd once made a purchase at a cigar store. You have ample evidence before you that Jason Young is not guilty. And then it was over again and time for another jury to consider whether Jason. Young would go to jail for walk out of court free man. Coming up the verdict, take two with the jury by unanimous verdict. Find the defendant, Jason Lynn Young, to be. For more than five years, Michelle Young's family and friends had been waiting for answers. Who killed their pretty pregnant Michelle? Many thought they knew it was him. You know, I didn't know all the evidence, that it didn't know half of the things I know now. But I felt that way. One jury failed to decide, and now attorneys were making their final arguments to a second jury. Be mad at him. Hate him if you want to, but when you look at the physical evidence in this case, it does not match up. It does not match up to Jason having killed his wife and unborn son 30 blows. That's not from a stranger. That is a mad mad. Domestic abuser. Soon that jury was behind closed doors in the Wake County Superior Court. After two days, they were back with a verdict with the jury by unanimous verdict. Find the defendant, Jason Lynn Young, to be guilty of first degree murder of Michelle. Guilty of first degree murder. Jason Young didn't flinch behind him. His mother was equally stoic. On the other side of the court, Michelle Young's bereaved mother and sister wept. Fiona at home got the news from a friend. Yeah. Like? What? Bye. Jason Young received a life sentence, chose not to address the court even as the bailiffs led him away. He remained expressionless. The prosecutors were, they told us, relieved. And it's very emotional. Have family members there who you've been working with for. 5 1/2 years and they finally have justice, you know, now we've been telling them for years. Just just trust, just trust that that it'll be the right result. Was it a year and a half ticked by? And then this attorneys for Jason Young demanding a new trial, saying the trial that led to his conviction had significant errors. December 2013, Jason Young's new attorney launched his appeal. Who is the killer? Is Jason Young the person responsible for Miss Young's death? And, you know, it seems fundamentally unfair. What was fundamentally unfair, remember during the trial? The attorney pointed out the prosecution introduced testimony about those civil cases against Jason brought by Michelle's family. They accused Jason of murder. Jason Young brutally murdered Michelle Young. The defendant brutally murdered Michelle Marie Fisher Young Way out of bounds, said the attorneys. The jury should not have been allowed to hear about any of that outside the court. Michelle sister Meredith predicted the appeal would be thrown out and the jury came to the right verdict and we're confident it'll stay. But she was wrong. A Raleigh man is getting a third trial in the death of his pregnant wife. In April 2014. The judges ruled unanimously that testimony about those civil cases prejudice the jury, and they took particular exception to the fact that prosecutor was allowed to tell the jurors it was their trial judge who signed the civil judgment against Jason which said that he killed his wife, in fact, said the appeals court introducing evidence about the civil cases. It was a violation of North Carolina law, and that law says you cannot use a civil complaint, a civil allegation, as proof in a criminal case. But a year later, the state Supreme Court reversed the appeals court decision, and in 2017 Jason Young made yet another attempt to get a third trial, this time on grounds his defense team was ineffective. It was also denied. I know you too, Cassidy, but children know little of the arcane world of motions and appeals. For Cassidy, her father, her mother. Are snatches of memory ever farther away? That's all for now. I'm Lester Holt. Thanks for joining us.