NEW: The victim's family embraces and cries after the verdict is announced
A North Carolina jury convicts Jason Young of first-degree murder in his wife's death
The judge says the victim "suffered a beating the likes of which we seldom see"
Jason Young is sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole
Months after his first trial ended in a hung jury, Jason Young was convicted Monday by a North Carolina jury of first-degree murder in the beating death of his pregnant wife.
Michelle Young was discovered dead in 2006 in the bedroom of her Raleigh home. Her husband, Jason, first went on trial last June but a jury could not unanimously agree on a verdict.
But that was not the case Monday, when several of Michelle Young’s relatives embraced and wiped away tears after this jury’s decision was announced.
Afterward, Judge Donald Stephens said he had no reason to set aside the verdict and ordered Young to be sentenced to life in prison without chance of parole.
According to Stephens, Michelle Young “wasn’t just murdered, she suffered a beating the likes of which we seldom see.”
Jason Young, now 37, struck her over 30 times, seemingly only stopping after “he was exhausted,” said the judge.
“The evidence suggests that the assailant was overcome completely by anger and rage,” the judge added. “And even then, he had the energy to strip her of her engagement and weddings rings because, in his mind, she was unworthy of wearing them.”
Saying the “fingerprints of domestic violence are all over this case,” Stephens said Jason Young “had not only a motive” to kill his wife “but the circumstances pointed directly to him.”
Meredith Fisher, the victim’s sister, said she answered a call from Jason Young requesting that she drop by his home to pick up some computer printouts that “were said to have been … a belated anniversary gift,” according to a search warrant.
After entering the Raleigh home on November 3, 2006, Fisher found her bloodied sister dead on her bedroom floor as well as the victim’s daughter alive on the other side of the bedroom.
The defense contended Jason Young first learned about his wife’s death later that day at his mother’s home in Brevard, North Carolina, and was contacted by an investigator as he was heading back to Raleigh.
Another search warrant said that Jason Young hung up on a phone call from a detective, and, “He refused to come to the scene or to continue speaking with investigators. Mr. Young did not inquire as to his daughter’s well-being or to the nature and/or cause of his wife’s death.”
The defense had argued that intruders, and not the defendant, had killed Michelle Young. They pointed to what they described as holes in the prosecution’s case – including the lack of blood in Jason Young’s car and on the jeans he supposedly wore the night his wife died.
“There may have been two killers in the house. But neither of them was Jason Young,” argued defense attorney Bryan Collins.
“This case is awful, it’s sad, it’s heavy, it weighs on you. And yet that has nothing to do with who killed her.”
Wake County Assistant District Attorney Howard Cummings, meanwhile, said Michelle Young died as a result was a purposeful killing and not a violent theft.
“This is not a stranger crime,” the prosecutor said. “This is an act of domestic violence that had been coming on.”