Archive for November, 2008|Monthly archive page

Michelle Young: Why no arrest? (continued)

Part III

This blog entry is a continuation of the one posted on November 13, titled Michelle Young: Why no arrest? If you haven’t already read parts I and II, you may want to go back and start at the beginning before continuing here. The purpose of these entries is to examine the evidence as disclosed in court documents to try to ascertain why there has yet to be an arrest for the murder of Michelle Young.

November 6, 2008 Warrant (continued)

[[Click herefor WRAL’s .pdf of the warrant]

The probable cause laid out in this warrant does one favor for those who consider it their cause to defend Jason Young on various Internet forums.  No longer do they have to waste energy attacking anyone who refers to Jason’s relationship with Michelle Money as an affair.

On November 16th, 2006 Mrs. Money was interviewed about her relationship with Jason Young.  She provided investigators with a detailed account of a visit she received from Mr. Young during the weekend of October 7th, 2006.  During the visit Mrs. Money stated that she and Mr. Young had sexual intercourse on two occasions.

No ambiguity there.  Additionally, a statement from a male friend of Jason’s and an e-mail exchange between Jason Young and Michelle Money characterize the relationship as going beyond a purely physical relationship. According to the friend, Jason told him that he and Mrs. Money loved each other and that Mrs. Money hoped that the child she was trying to conceive with her husband would be Jason Young’s.

I’ll include here the full text (typos intact) of the e-mail exchange, as it speaks for itself.  Note, however, that I have emboldened three segments for emphasis.

Michelle Money:

I hope your doing okay!  IMY and I am sorry that you are having a bad day.

I wish that I could make everyday a great day for you and you do the same for me.  I would change thins if we could but we can’t.  I want to enjoy what I can and make the best of it.  I love that we are open and caring and loving and sharing with each other.  It is so important.  I feel so lucky that I have all that from you and have you in my life.

ILY

Jason Young:

missing you so much…got a nice beer buzz…after hours of “counseling” with meredithand debating/arguing with michelle.  thank God for meredithis all I can say…that girl is so level headed and cool…once again, a “bigger” girl with a cool personality

i feel lucky just to know you, much less love you, but i do.

i don’t know how all this happened, but i know how it will end up…two broken hearts…but, i don’t care.  i know there is pain in my future, but you are so worth it, even if it’s only for a “blink” in time.

Michelle Money:

Missing you so much!!!  I won’t even get in to my husbands lack of rama, affecton, attention, etc…

I am glad Meredith was there to support you and I am sad for you and Michelle that it is not a good mix.  I wish things were different for all of us.

Miss you tons!

There are several things within this e-mail exchange that could be analyzed, but I’m going to limit my commentary to the few that I’ve emphasized.

Commentary:

Two broken hearts?  Only two?  There are at least four people involved in this situation — actually seven including the children of both couples.  Why only two broken hearts?  Because their respective spouses and children will never find out, and only Jason and Mrs. Money’s hearts will be broken because they cannot be together?  Because only their spouse’s hearts will be broken, while Jason and Mrs. Money will be blissfully happy together and the children’s feelings are not being taken into consideration?  Why two broken hearts? 

Whose pain does Jason see in his future?

The woman Jason Young professes to love writes:  “I would change [things] if we could but we can’t” and “I wish things were different for all of us.”  Less than a week before Michelle Young is brutally murdered and Jason is made a widower, Michelle Money writes those words.  How did that affect Jason Young.  Will the jury be able to see it as anything other than motive? 

One more question:  What did Jason say or write that preceded Michelle Money’s first e-mail to him?

To further illustrate the depth and intensity of the pair’s involvement, Investigator Spivey enumerates the telephone contact between them. 

  • October 4, 2006 – November 3, 2006:  approximately 980 phone calls and text messages
  • November 2, 2006:  approximately 50 phone calls and text messages on this day alone, the day preceding the murder
  • December 18, 2007 – January 25, 2008:  approximately 207 phone calls and text messages

Note that the last time period listed above is more than a year after the murder.  The relationship apparently continued and, according to the warrant, included at least one face-to-face visit in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Jason’s unhappiness in his marriage is further addressed in statements from former co-workers, a friend, and a former acquaintance.  Two female co-workers described Jason’s flirtations with women and his complaints about his sex life with his wife.  According to the warrant, Jason told a friend “that he was unhappy in his marriage and never would have married Michelle Young if she had not gotten pregnant.”  In an e-mail sent to a woman who once attended Camp Illahee in Brevard where Jason had worked as an instructor, Jason pretended to be unmarried.  The e-mail was dated May 18, 2006. 

Commentary: 

It should be noted that the co-workers Jason complained to were both women, at least one of which Jason found attractive.  It may be that Jason hoped to elicit sympathy from these women that he could exploit for extramarital sexual relationships.  Was this a modus operandi for him?  It’s a habit that has the potential to produce charges of sexual harassment. 

At the time Jason e-mailed the woman he had met at Camp Illahee some ten years earlier, Jason and Michelle were indeed married and parents to a two year old daughter and another child on the way.  Less than two weeks later, Jason and Michelle were involved in a single-car accident just outside Brevard with Jason behind the wheel after which Michelle lost the baby she was carrying.  There has been much speculation about this accident as having been an orchestrated attempt by Jason on Michelle’s life.  The fact that it is addressed in the warrant negates any claim that the accident is of no cause for suspicion to investigators.

The warrant reveals the content of an e-mail exchange between Jason Young and his sister, Kim Young, that obviously postdates the murder.  I’ll include the excerpts in their entirety as cited in the warrant:

JY:  Recall what we were discussing, it was YOUR statement that Roger was somehow benefiting financially by this being drawn out.  That is simply WRONG and is an assumption on your part that is based on nothing.  The FACT is, there is a set amount for this investigation process.  PERIOD.  If this investigation lasts 3 months or 2 years, he doesn’t “benefit” from the longevity.  His ONLY concern is for me and that hopefully there will NEVER be an arrest.

JY:  The only thing that matters is the investigation itself and you can see that is has led to nothing.

JY:  I hired a good attorney (which I didn’t even know at the time, they were just recommended) and I haven’t been arrested even though it’s been obvious that the focus has been on me.  I am going to continue to follow what they say.

KY:  If you think public opinion doesn’t matter then you are living in a very naive isolated world.  You are very insulated in Brevard and have no clue out of that protected little world about what is and isn’t being said, including by your own close friends, some of whom who do have doubts about you this has gone on for so long with so many thing being said by the media and police that neither you nor Roger ever address.  As time goes on that only progresses.

JY:  There are glory “lawyers” out there that will do anything and everything to get n the news.  Thank God, I do not have one.  Thank God, I live in my “insulated” world, but I don’t CARE anymore about what is being said about me.  It as very clear to me from the start that there will be a PUBLIC trial and what REALLY happens.  A public trial does nothing, zero, zilch.  If it filters out “true” friends then great.  I can’t imagine you being privy to conversations with my “close friends”, but maybe you’ve changed and hangout in Raleigh with them on a regular basis…???

KY:  What happens when her little friends aren’t allowed to come play with her or spend the night because rumor is her daddy killed her mommy?

JY:  I don’t think that would ever happen, I think you are being extremely dramatic and very unrealistic.  Your whole world is based on the people yu know and who know about this situation.  You spend your days on the internet going into chatrooms where you’re not going to find anything good written about the situation, but in time, things will die down.  Most people out there don’t know one thing about any of this.  Your are right, I am here in Brevard, but in little old there was a big article written about this and you know how a small town talks.  Still though, the majority of folks have no idea and that amount will continue to decrease with time.  Think for a moment, how many crimes and murders do you recall?  What details do you know about that situation?  Did you even hear about the murder in Durham about a year ago under similar before you started your internet chat room time?  I doubt it…I bet you can’t even name the husband who moved out West to be with family after the murder.  Was he a suspect?  Is he still?  I don’t know but I do know that I wouldn’t recognize his name or his face if he or his kid walked up to me tomorrow.

KY:  Have you thought about the day when she asks you why you were having a relationship with someone else?  How is that going to make her feel?

JY:  Yes I have, and it is not going to be an easy time for me, but it will have to happen.  I dont’ know how it’s going to make her “feel”.

KY:  When you called me when Michelle was pregnant and said you were getting married, I asked you if you were ready for that responsibility or if you would resent it?  You said you were ready.

JY:  ok, and your point is????

KY:  Your actions here affect everything about the rest of Cassie’s life and you need to think about that.

Commentary:

The date of this e-mail exchange is not disclosed in the warrant.  Kim’s comments and questions to her brother are couched in her concern about the way Jason and his attorney are handling the situation, but it becomes evident by the end, when she remarks on the circumstances of Jason and Michelle’s marriage that she has real suspicion about Jason’s involvement in the murder.  It would be interesting to know at what point Kim’s suspicions began to arise.  I wonder if Jason’s remark — “3 months or two years” — is a clue as to when this conversation took place.

Jason’s own comments belie his innocence.  Rather than outrage over the fact that Michelle’s murderer has not been caught, Jason expresses a desire for the case to remain unsolved and an expectation that media attention will die down and public awareness of the murder will fade away.  It’s clear that Jason is pleased with his attorney’s advice to remain silent and has no intention of ever cooperating with investigators.  His remarks about the other unsolved murder — namely the Janet Abaroa murder of which her husband, Raven, is the unofficial suspect — cause one to question why he has an awareness of it that allows him to challenge his sister on her lack of cognizance.  Was he inspired by Raven’s apparent success?  His denial of an ability to recognize Raven or his child if he ran into them comes across as disingenuous.

Jason’s response to Kim’s expression of concern as to how Cassidy will be affected when she learns of his infidelity — “it is not going to be an easy time for me, but it will have to happen.  I don’t know how it’s going to make her “feel”’  — displays a narcissistic self-absorption and an inability to empathize with others.

A examination of one of Jason Young’s computers producing some interesting search topics that pre-dated Michelle’s murder:

  • Real-estate searches and owner list information for Jason Young and the 5108 Birchleaf Drive address
  • Searches for Michelle Money and Michelle Money Florida
  • Eric Rudolph
  • Free porn movies
  • Ischemia
  • Prudential Properties Sowerby
  • Gay bars and gay bars New York City
  • Opportunity
  • Anatomy of a knockout
  • Head trauma knockout
  • Divorce
  • Right posterior parietal occipital region

Commentary:

I expect that by the time the jury hears about these Internet searches, they will already have been told by the North Carolina State Medical Examiner that Michelle Young died from blunt force trauma to the head, that many of the blows to her head were in all likelihood inflicted after she was already unconscious, and that her killer attempted to manually strangle her.  In most successful strangulations, death is the result of an obstruction of oxygen-rich bloodflow to the brain, resulting in “cerebral hypoxia and ischemic neuronal death.”  It’s my belief that the above searches delineate a plan to induce unconsciousness with a blow to the head, after which Michelle could be strangled to death without being able to fight off her attacker.  Considering the end results, things did not go according to plan.

The Valentine’s Day warrants introduced the public to two sets of shoeprints found at the crime scene — a Hushpuppiesprint and a Franklin athletic shoe print with the number 10 on the bottom.  We learn more about the investigation regarding the two prints from the Novo Nordisk warrant.

  • A Hushpuppies representative provided to investigators “copies of DSW purchase orders and shipping records of shoes purchased from Hushpuppies.” 
  • A board certified podiatrist stated that blister like irritations on Jason Young’s feet, photographed approximately five days after the murder, could have been caused by wearing shoes too small for his feet.

Commentary:

It would come as no surprise if Jason’s defense attorney were able to get the podiatrist to concede that there could have been other causes of the blisters on Jason’s feet — basketball, flag football, or other athletic activities Jason is known to have participated in.  A picture is worth a thousan words, and the jurors will be able to decide for themselves which explanation they find more credible.

Conclusion

In order to understand what might be preventing the pursuit of an indictment at this time, it is necessary to ascertain the charge (or charges) being considered as well as the district attorney’s burden in proving the charge. In reviewing the evidence laid out in the warrants, it is apparent that Michelle Young’s killer will be tried for First Degree Murder. Even if Jason Young is not the killer, the murder in conjunction with the burglary (or robbery) of valuables from the home satisfies the requirements for a felony murder charge, punishable by death or by imprisonment for life without the possibility of parole.  It’s clear, however, that Jason Young is the focus of the investigation and the person who will eventually be indicted and tried for the crime. The circumstances surrounding the murder paint a picture of a premeditated murder planned in advance and carried out by stealth and subterfuge. What must the prosecutor prove?

  • Corpus delicti — “body of the crime”. There is no ambiguity as to the fact that Michelle Young’s death was a homicide. The medical examiner’s report establishes that her death was caused by blunt force trauma to the head. The blood spatter at the crime scene is proof that someone beat her to death.
  • Actus reus — “wrongful act”. The prosecution must prove that the defendant’s actions caused the death of the victim. While it’s obvious that someone beat Michelle Young to death, the difficulty arises in proving that Jason Young is that someone. In this case, there is no eyewitness who can testify to seeing Jason beat Michelle to death. There is no proverbial “smoking gun”, such as a blunt object with Michelle’s blood and Jason’s fingerprints on it or Jason’s fingerprints in Michelle’s blood at the crime scene. The case is being pieced together from an assortment of incriminating factors and peculiar incidents, the sum total of which it is hoped will convince twelve jurors beyond a reasonable doubt that Jason Young is the killer or participated in the murder.
  • Mens rea — “criminal intent”. First Degree Murder is a specific intent crime. The prosecutor must prove not only that the defendant intended to beat Michelle Young but that he intended her death to be the end result of the beating. If the jury believes that the circumstantial evidence put forth by the prosecution proves that Jason killed Michelle Young or participated in her murder, because of the very nature of the evidence, they will also conclude that the murder was deliberate and planned in advance, satisfying the mens rea element of the crime.

There can be no doubt that the evidence set forth in the February ’08 and November ’08 warrants implicates Jason Young in Michelle Young’s murder.  However, that should come as no surprise; the very purpose of the probable cause statement is to persuade a judge or magistrate to grant permission to investigators to pursue an investigation of Jason Young by a sanctioned invasion of his privacy.  As I stated at the end of Part I of this analysis, the case against Jason Young is built entirely on circumstantial evidence.  That’s not to say that the evidence is by any means weak.  Circumstantial evidence is often more reliable and compelling to a jury than direct evidence such as eyewitness statements.  The fact is, just as Sheriff Donnie Harrison has repeatedly stated, this is a complex case.  The more pieces of the puzzle investigators are able to locate and provide to prosecutors, the easier it will be for the prosecutors to put the whole picture together for the jury.  Defense counsel will have their work cut out for them, but make no mistake, they will pick apart and attempt to explain every piece of evidence presented by the prosecution.  How successful they will be remains to be seen, but it is a factor that the prosecution must consider and prepare for before going forward with an indictment and trial.  In Part I, I expressed doubt that there may still exist credible evidence that has yet to be found.  Clearly, that is not the case.  New leads continue to arise:

  • Jason Young has talked to family members about the murder investigation.
  • Jason Young has continued his relationship with Michelle Money
  • Investigators have obtained Cassidy’s medical records, excluding the possibility that she was prescribed the drugs found in her room.
  • An expert has been recently consulted regarding irritations on Jason’s feet.

 
The latest warrant authorized investigators to search for additional evidence against Jason Young on the computer issued him by his employer, Novo Nordisk.  What else might they find?  Linda Fisher has filed a civil suit against Jason Young for the wrongful death of her daughter.  Jason must respond within thirty days of her filing, and at some point, Linda’s attorneys hope to depose Jason Young.  These things alone provide the potential for uncovering new and conclusive evidence and are thus reason to wait a bit longer.  An indictment will start the clock ticking on Jason’s constitutional right to a speedy trial — a distinct disadvantage to a prosecution team not thoroughly prepared.  The recent release of warrants has brought new attention to the case and could bring forward other people who might have valuable information relating to Michelle’s murder.  Time will tell.

Return to Part I
Return to Part II

Michelle Young: Why no arrest? (continued)

Part II

This blog entry is a continuation of the one posted on November 13, titled Michelle Young:  Why no arrest?  If you haven’t already read it, you may want to go back and start at the beginning before continuing here.  The purpose of these entries is to examine the evidence as disclosed in court documents to try to ascertain why there has yet to be an arrest for the murder of Michelle Young.

November 6, 2008 Warrant

[[Click here for WRAL’s .pdf of the warrant]

The first thing that stands out in the probable cause affidavit of this warrant is the time that Jason called Meredith to ask her to retrieve the printouts from his printer at 5108 Birchleaf.  Until now, it was widely reported that Jason called Meredith in the morning.  Most assumed that he probably called around 7:30 to 8:00 a.m.  Not so!  The voicemail was left for Meredith at 12:10 p.m.  She called 911 at 1:25 p.m.

Commentary:

Maybe I was giving Jason too much credit in showing concern for Cassidy, but I was one of those who believed for a long time that he called Meredith to, in effect, rescue Cassidy as soon as he got back to the Hillsville area and could safely do so without blowing his alibi with cell phone activity from the wrong location.  Singaporesling asked the question:  “What is your take on the 1210 PM phone call to Meredith?” and RPD came up with a theory that may have nailed the reason for such a delay.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.  That theory pertains to evidence disclosed later in the warrant.  For now, suffice it to say that Cassidy spent half the day alone with her mother’s body because Jason didn’t call Meredith until after noon, less than an hour and a half before Meredith’s 911 call.  I’ll get back to RPD’s theory later in this entry.

The next revelation is in regard to additional details about the printout Meredith was sent by Jason to retrieve.  Finally confirmed is the fact that the printouts had to do with a Coach purse Jason was purportedly planning to buy for Michelle for a belated anniversary gift.  Previously unknown was the fact that the handbags were being auctioned on eBay and that the auctions would have closed prior to Jason even arriving at his Hillsville hotel.

Commentary:

Since early in the investigation, the media has reported that Meredith discovered Michelle’s body when she went to 5108 Birchleaf at Jason Young’s request to retrieve some documents from the printer.  The poster named “just the facts” (widely believed to have been Jason’s sister, Kim Young) revealed in mid-November 2006 that the printout had to do with a Coach purse Jason was planning to buy for Michelle as a belated anniversary gift.  For most, that whole scenario reeked of sturgeon from the beginning and was probably the main reason some of us were almost immediately skeptical of Jason’s alibi.  With the details put forth in the latest warrant regarding the Coach purse printouts, the probability that Meredith was set up to discover the body and rescue Cassidy is even greater than before.

Defense may argue that Jason never had any intention to buy the specific purse or purses pictured on the printouts; they were simply examples of the styles he was considering and trying to get feedback on from friends.  Nevertheless, it’s one more piece of kindling for the fire.

Moving on, the warrant settles the question:  Where was Cassidy when Meredith arrived?  Answer:  She was in the master bedroom “on, what appeared to be, Jason Young’s side of the bed”.

Commentary:

One of gojo’s favorite mantras has long been [paraphrased]:  What about the blood trail?  How do you explain Cassidy’s bloody footprints in the hall bath with no blood trail leading from Michelle’s body to the hall bath?   It’s also been asked why Cassidy was clean and not covered in blood after so many hours alone with her mother’s body, and who tended to Cassidy and kept her from getting back into the blood after her feet were cleaned?  All of the above are good questions that demand answers regardless of whether you believe Jason Young or someone else killed Michelle.  Cassidy mentions a washcloth to Meredith during the 911 call.  It’s unclear if she is telling Meredith how she tried to help Michelle, suggesting that Meredith get a washcloth so they can clean Michelle’s boo-boos, or informing Meredith that someone cleaned the blood from her feet with a washcloth. 

The absence of Cassidy’s bloody footprints between Michelle’s body and the hall bath, where her footprints were numerous, can be interpreted in only one way:  Someone carried Cassidy from the pool of her mother’s blood to the bathroom and left her there with the door closed for some period of time.  We were told ages ago that Meredith took Cassidy to the neighbor’s house to use the bathroom after deputies arrived to secure the scene.  Cassidy was reportedly clean and didn’t seem to be hungry or thirsty at that time.  Because of this information, it’s long been my theory that Cassidy awoke and approached Michelle’s body while the killer was otherwise occupied.  When he discovered her there, he picked her up and carried her to the bathroom, briefly leaving her while he tended to something else before returning to clean her up and get her back to sleep.

Returning again to the evidence disclosed in the warrant, we learn that investigators discovered two bottles of medication that no one with a sense of child safety would deliberately store in a toddler’s room:  Tylenol Extra Strength adult cold medicine and Pancof-PD, a prescription antihistamine, decongestant. cough suppressant, and pain reliever which Cassidy had never been prescribed. 

Commentary:

Notably absent from the disclosure as to Cassidy’s location upon Meredith’s arrival — on Jason’s side of the bed in the master bedroom — is any remark as to whether Cassidy was awake or asleep.  Putting together the fact that she was on Jason’s side of the bed and the fact that she was clean and there were no bloody prints made by Cassidy apart from those in the hall bath, I come to the realization that she was likely asleep throughout the morning from the time the killer left until Meredith arrived in the early afternoon.  How is that possible?  The medications found in Cassidy’s room at the very least induce drowsiness.  The Pancof-PD, in fact, contains a narcotic that could have caused Cassidy to sleep for quite a while if she ingested it.

This seems the appropriate place to return to RPD’s theory in response to singaporesling’s question:  “What is your take on the 1210 PM phone call to Meredith?”

RPD:

Lets say MY was dead at 2:50 am….it seems logical he left shortly after 5 am
(the 7:49 MM call was obviously pinged from hillsville VA)

That would mean he stayed in the house for 2 hours after the murder.
Best guess is he had to comfort Cassidy until close to 4:45 am.
If he in fact doped her up, he likely calculated that she would be out until noon or so.

If he called earlier, Meredith would arrive to a dead sister and an unresponsive neice….Hmmm

Now, if the picture isn’t vivid enough, consider the following information set forth in the warrant:

  • Pancof-PD is manufactured by Pamlab, formerly known as Pan American Laboratories.
  • Jason was employed as a pharmaceutical sales rep by Pan American Laboratories until January 2005.
  • Employer records show Pancof-PD listed as a medication that was represented by Jason Young and inform that Jason “would have been thoroughly trained in product knowledge for all products he sampled.”
  • Samples of Pancof-PD, in 15 ml and 4 oz. sizes, were issued to Jason during his employment with the company.

The warrant makes no mention of the size of the bottle of Pancof-PD found in Cassidy’s room.

Commentary:

It seems to me that the defense will have to concede that the Pancof-PD was in the house because Jason brought it into the house at some point in time.  Perhaps, they’ll try to argue that there’s nothing sinister about its presence in Cassidy’s room, but there aren’t too many parents — and there are bound to be a few parents on the jury — who would find that plausible.  Maybe they’ll try to convince the jury that it was the real killer, not Jason Young, who found the samples and drugged Cassidy.  But what reason would anyone other than Jason have for drugging Cassidy, and why choose the Pancof-PD to do it?  The defense may contend that the drug’s presence in Cassidy’s room doesn’t mean that it was actually used on her.  In that case, I’d ask: Then why was it in her room?  And depending on Cassidy’s potty-training status and the diligence of investigators, it may be a moot point.  If a wet diaper or bed sheet was preserved and tested as evidence, the defense may be forced to deal with the fact that Cassidy was drugged and answer the question:  Who would do that, and why?

The warrant reveals quite a bit about Jason’s phone use leading up to and following Michelle’s murder.

  • Jason’s last call of the day on November 2 was to Michelle Money, with whom he was involved in an extramarital sexual relationship.  The pair exchanged roughly 50 phone calls and text messages that day.
  • Jason’s first call of the day on November 3 was to Michelle Money at 7:49 a.m.
  • Jason placed two calls to Michelle Young — at 12:02 and 12:17 p.m.
  • As mentioned earlier, Jason left a voicemail for Meredith at 12:10 p.m., asking her to go to the house to retrieve the Coach purse printouts from the printer.
  • Meredith called 911 at 1:25 p.m.
  • Linda called Jason’s cell phone four times from 1:53 p.m. to 2:52 p.m.  Her calls went unanswered, and she left at least one message asking Jason to call her back.  Despite the unusual nature of her calls and their apparent urgency, Jason failed to return her calls.
  • Over a period of 30 days prior to the murder, Jason called his mother, Pat Young, an average of 2.5 times per day.  On November 3, the day after the murder, Jason called his mother 28 times, all prior to 1:37 p.m.
  • Jason’s last phone call before reaching his mother’s Brevard home was to Michelle Money at 2:05 p.m. and lasted for 27 minutes.
  • Jason arrived at his mother’s home at approximately 3:30 p.m., and was informed of Michelle’s murder by family members.

Focus with me for a moment on information put forth regarding Linda Fisher’s calls to Jason on November 3. She placed four calls:

  • 1:53:04 pm for 0 seconds
  • 1:53:23 pm for 44 seconds
  • 2:51 pm for 0 seconds
  • 2:52 pm for 38 seconds

From the affidavit:

According to Mrs. Fisher, when she called Jason Young she left a message stating, “I need to talk to you. Please call me back.” When Linda Fisher made this call and left the message, Jason Young was on the phone with Michelle Money. Records show that Jason Young did not return this call nor did he call his wife or sister-in-law to see why Linda Fisher was calling him.

Commentary:

Comparing the times of Linda’s calls to the 2:05 pm call, (lasting 27 minutes) to Michelle Money and the 1:37 call to Pat Young, it becomes apparent that Jason must have been on the phone almost continuously during that period of time, having another conversation with Mrs. Money prior to the 2:05 one. Missing Linda’s 1:53 calls because he was on the phone with someone else isn’t sinister. Although, the fact that he was on the phone with his lover is more than ironic. Nevertheless, it’s the fact that he failed to return those calls and respond to Linda’s message that will dog his defense. Add to that, Linda called twice more, perhaps leaving a second more urgent message after Jason finished talking to Mrs. Money at approximately 2:32 pm. The warrant indicates that the records “show that Jason Young called his voicemail and checked his messages.” Suppose the defense tries to claim that Jason was unable to actually listen to Linda’s messages because of spotty cell service? That will be difficult to prove if Jason interacted with his voicemail service by skipping through and/or deleting messages.

Jason’s defense attorney will have a very difficult time contending with the cold, hard facts of the cell phone records.  When viewed in context and chronological order, the calls Jason chose to make or take in contrast to the calls he ignored imply cognizance of guilt.  The jury can and probably will infer that at 1:53 p.m., when Linda Fisher first called his cell phone, Jason knew that Michelle’s murder had been discovered.  From that point forward, it appears that Jason avoided speaking to anyone who could inform him of the murder before he reached Pat Young’s home.  A picture is painted of callous disregard for Michelle and her mother and sister, an undaunted, narcissitic obsession with a treacherous relationship, a deliberate avoidance of accountability to Michelle’s mother, and a high-tailed retreat to the bosom of his own.

Jason arrived thirty-five minutes late to his 10:00 a.m. meeting in Clintwood, VA, excusing his tardiness with a claim of getting lost.  According to the warrant, the hospital representative described his demeanor ‘as being “hyper” and “this looked like it was nervousness”.’

Commentary:

Jason’s tardiness and his excuse for same had been previously disclosed by gojo and at least one other person close to Jason.  Apparently, this was something that Jason readily shared with a few people after the murder.  Some might find it implausible that a traveling salesman who set out the night before for a mid-morning business trip with five maps in his car could get lost on his way there.  It happens.  Add to that his demeanor when he arrived, and you might make a point, but, then again, his nervousness could be chalked up to anxiety over being late.  Here again, the tale will be told by the cell phone records.  If Jason was in the Hillsville area when he called Michelle Money at 7:49 a.m., he wouldn’t have had time to get lost on his way to Clintwood.  According to MSN Live Maps, the distance from the Hillsville Hampton Inn to Dickenson Community Hospital is 145.5 miles and would have taken approximately 2 hours and 41 minutes to drive.  By that estimation, leaving Hillsville at  7:49 would have placed him at his destination at 10:30 a.m.  Counsel would have to find a way to explain why Jason was late setting out from Hillsville that morning and why he lied about getting lost along the way.

**Note to readers:  I intended for this to be a two part entry, but due to the voluminous information in the November 6 warrant for Jason Young’s Novo Nordisk computer data, I am compelled to divide it up. 

Continue to Part III
Return to Part I

Michelle Young: Why no arrest?

Part I

On November 3, 2006, Meredith Fisher discovered the lifeless body of her sister, Michelle Marie Fisher Young, lying in a pool of blood on her own bedroom floor.  Michelle’s 2 1/2 year old daughter Cassidy was found unharmed in the home along with the family’s dog, Mr. Garrison.  Michelle’s death was quickly ruled a homicide, and the North Carolina  State Medical Examiner’s report declared that Michelle’s death was effected by blunt force injuries to the head.  A homicide investigation conducted by the Wake County Sheriff’s Office has yet to result in an indictment or arrest.  Although no suspect has been officially named, the WCSO has publicly acknowledged that they cannot rule out the victim’s husband, Jason Young, as a suspect in his pregnant wife’s brutal murder.  In fact, the release of various warrants and court documents have made it clear that Jason Young is the primary focus of the investigation.  Since the August release of the February 2008 warrants to search Jason Young’s places of residence and vehicles, people have increasingly asked me: “What’s the holdup?  Why hasn’t he been arrested?”  Invariably, my answer has been something like this:

I don’t know.  I don’t know what evidence they are lacking or what more they could hope to gather at this late date.  Surely all the forensics are back by now.  A witness coming forward now to state that he saw Jason Young at or near the Birchleaf residence would probably be of questionable credibility simply because of the length of time that has passed since the murder.  It’s highly unlikely that the murder weapon or any bloody clothing could be located at this late date.  If Jason isn’t talking to investigators nor to friends and family, the chances of getting any useful statements from him are not good.  I don’t understand what they hope to gain by waiting.

On November 6, 2008, a new search warrant was issued, the probable cause affidavit of which has the potential to clear up the mystery.  So let’s examine the evidence as put forth in court documents in an attempt to understand why Jason Young has not been indicted by a grand jury and placed under arrest for the murder of Michelle Young.

February 14, 2008 Warrant

[Click here for WTVD’s .pdf of the warrants]
During the drive from Brevard to Raleigh, Jason Young was contacted via cell phone by detectives from the Wake County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) who wished to enlist his help in the investigation.  He informed them that “he would not be willing to speak with the investigators until he had secured legal counsel” and ended the phone call by “hanging up on the investigator who [was] speaking with him.”  According to the warrant, Jason has refused to cooperate with the investigation since that time with the exception of complying with a court ordered Nontestimonial Identification Order (NTIO). 

Commentary:

Jason Young’s refusal to cooperate with the investigation into his pregnant wife’s murder from the outset is outside the norm and reason to suspect his involvement.  A concerned and loving husband would be outraged by the murder of his wife and unborn child and demand that the crime be solved and the killer brought to justice. The jury is not allowed to consider Jason’s assertion of his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination when determining guilt.  However, when the prosecution presents their case, will it go unnoticed that he at no time provided any cooperation to law enforcement officers?  Jurors are only human.

In the course of the investigation, two bloody shoe prints were found on a pillow at the crime scene.  One of the prints was later identified as having been made by a Hushpuppies shoe with the sole identical to a pair owned by Jason Young.  These shoes are no longer in Jason Young’s possession.  The second print was identified as having been made by a Franklin athletic shoe.  The number 10 was clearly visible in the impression.  Deck boards taken during a November 2007 search of the Birchleaf residence held impressions in the deck stain “similar in design” to the Franklin shoeprint.

Commentary:

 The Hushpuppies shoeprint in Michelle’s blood on the pillow has the potential to place Jason Young at the house at the time of Michelle’s murder.  The jury could infer that Jason’s Hushpuppies shoes were worn by the killer because they are missing whereas two other pairs of shoes he purchased at the same time are still in his possession.  The problem exists in proving that Jason Young is the person who actually wore the shoes and made the print.  Proof that Jason had the Hushpuppies shoes with him at any time during his business trip to Clintwood, VA would significantly strengthen this piece of evidence.

The search warrant’s language, “similar in design”, in comparing the Franklin shoeprint left in blood on the pillow to the impressions in the deck stain is ambiguous.  The warrant states that further analysis is being done, but those findings have yet to be made public.  Matching both sets of impressions to a shoe of the same brand, make, and size would significantly strengthen this evidence and make it almost impossible for the jury to conclude that someone other than Jason Young made the bloody shoeprints.

According to the affidavit, DNA recovered from the crime scene matches that of Jason Young.

One DNA swab was collected from an area sixteen inches from the floor and seven inches from the frame of the door to Jason Young’s closet.  The area which is in close proximity to the victim and surrounded by what appeared to be blood splatter, was described as a possible print.  Due to it’s location and the reasonable belief that it was in a place where the assailant may have come in contact with the wall, it was sent to the State Bureau of Investigation.  The results of the testing were described as follows:  “The DNA profile obtained from swabbing from the sheet rock MATCHED the DNA profile obtained from the bloodstain of Jason Young.

In addition to the sample taken from the area around the closet door, a DNA swab was collected from a jewelry box located in the crime scene.  The jewelry box located in the crime scene.  The jewelry box was processed because several drawers appeared to have been removed and taken from the scene.  The result of the testing was described as follows:  “A partial DNA profile was obtained from the swabbing from the jewelry box…”  “The DNA profile obtained from the bloodstain of Jason Young CANNOT BE EXCLUDED as a donor to the partial profile.” 

Commentary:

The evidentiary value of these two samples of DNA recovered from the crime scene can be determined by answering a few questions. 

  1. Can it be determined when and how Jason’s DNA came to be on the wall in that location.  Was the “possible print” in actuality a print?  Was Jason’s DNA the only DNA found in that print?  If it was indeed a print and Jason is innocent, someone else’s DNA should have been in the print.  Is the nature of the blood spatter such that  it proves that the print was made at the time of the murder?  In other words, did the spatter surrounding the print form a silhouette where the spatter was absent due to the obstruction of the body part that made the print or due to the smearing of blood spatter by the body part that left the print?  Either scenario has the potential to tie Jason Young to the murder.  On the other hand, the defense can claim that Jason Young’s DNA on the wall by his closet should be expected to be found on the wall by his closet for the simple fact that it is his house.  So the nature of the “possible print” is a very important factor in evaluating this evidence.
  2. Was there any foreign DNA found at the crime scene on the jewelry box or in any other location on or near Michelle Young’s body.

The Youngs’ bedroom was the scene of an extremely brutal and lengthy attack. The perpetrator exerted a great deal of physical force and had extensive contact with the victim. His DNA should have been left behind at the crime scene, possibly in the form of skin cells, sweat, saliva, blood, hair, etc. The absence of such DNA is evidence that tends to implicate Jason Young.

Security video from the Hillsville Hampton Inn shows that Jason arrived wearing a long-sleeved, light-colored shirt with a button placket.  Approximately an hour after checking in and entering his room, Jason is again seen in two locations wearing different clothing, namely a dark-colored, long-sleeved pullover with a zipper at the neck and a lighter-colored horizontal chest stripe.  First Jason is seen back at the front desk wearing the dark shirt and holding what appears to be a water bottle and a book or papers.  The video shows that thirty-three seconds later, Jason is walking down the first-floor corridor toward a side exit carrying the same objects.  A rock was later found in the door jamb of that exit which prevented the door from properly closing and locking.  Re-entry would otherwise have required keycard use.  Electronic records indicate that Jason’s keycard was used only once minutes after he checked in. 

Commentary:

Clearly, Jason Young left his hotel room and never used his keycard for reentry.  The change in clothing is suspicious in and of itself.  The fact that the dark shirt disappeared and is to-date unaccounted for may lead the jury to conclude that it was discarded because it was covered with Michelle’s blood.  If they draw that conclusion, they should also conclude that Jason changed clothes before leaving the Hampton Inn in preparation for the murder which establishes planning in advance.

The defense may try a variety of arguments to refute that any of the evidence from the hotel implicates Jason in Michelle’s murder.

  • Counsel may argue that there is no proof that Jason is the person who put the rock in the door jamb.
  • It may be explained that Jason donned the dark pullover and blocked open his room door and the side exit just to run out to his car, but there’s no proof that he returned to Raleigh or even left the hotel grounds.
  • Perhaps, they’ll claim that Jason carelessly forgot the dark pullover in his hotel room or lost it somewhere along his journey.
  • They may assert that, while the video shows Jason walking toward the side exit, it does not show him actually exiting through the door.  He was simply using the nearby stairs rather than the elevator to return to his room.

What kind of evidence could strengthen the publicly known evidence from the hotel?

  • If the rock from the side exit door jamb was retrieved by investigators, DNA and/or fingerprint evidence could prove that Jason tampered with the door.  RPD’s trip to the hotel revealed that the rocks outside that door are lava rocks.   Thus, it’s likely that DNA could have been recovered from the rock, but fingerprints could not.
  • Residue or tool marks on his room door’s locking mechanism would suggest something more sinister than flipping the security bar to prevent it from closing all the way while he briefly left his room.
  • If the brand and style of dark pullover could be determined, investigators might be able to get fibers from another shirt of the same brand and style for comparison to any fibers found on Michelle’s body.
  • Video footage that actually shows him leaving through the side exit and not reentering that night would be significant and compelling to the jury.
  • Video footage that fails to show Jason returning to his room immediately after being seen in the first floor corridor would reduce the likelihood that he returned to his room and tend to indicate that he did leave.
  • Video footage that shows him entering the hotel on the morning of November 3, wearing clothing different from the clothing he wore to check in, different from the dark pullover, and different from the attire he wore to his business meeting would strongly reinforce the theory that he left and was out during the time it would have taken him to return to Raleigh, murder Michelle, and drive back again to Hillsville.
  • Investigators thoroughly searched Jason’s vehicle and questioned his mother about Jason’s clothing and whether or not he unpacked or changed clothes.  Did they also question hotel housekeeping staff about any items Jason might have left behind in his room? 
  • In the corridor photo, Jason appears to be wearing brown or black finished leather shoes with no laces which fit the description of the Hushpuppies Orbitals he’s known to have owned prior to the murder.  Could the video be enhanced to conclusively identify his shoes as the Hushpuppies?  Were there any shoeprints in the hotel room or the floorboards of Jason’s SUV that could be matched to the Hushpuppies?  Any such evidence would negate the possibility that an unknown killer stole Jason’s shoes from the closet after killing Michelle.

Between the hours of 4 am and 5 am, a New York Times delivery person noticed unusual activity at the Youngs’ Bircheaf residence.  This witness noted the presence of a light-colored SUV parked in “a manner that it appeared to have been unloading or loading something.”  It was also noted that “all of the lights, inside and outside the home, were on.”

Commentary:

The prosecution can point to the fact that the vehicle seen by the delivery person is similar to the Ford Explorer driven by Jason Young.  However, the defense can argue that there are thousands of light-colored SUV’s on the streets of Raleigh and the delivery person cannot positively identify the SUV seen in the driveway as Jason Young’s Ford Explorer.  Unless, that is, the wording used in the warrant is an understatement of what the witness saw.  What is the significance of noting the manner in which the vehicle was parked?  Was something large removed from the house at the time of the murder?  Is this an allusion to Jason removing bloody items such as clothing, a murder weapon, or other items that he feared might hold evidence that would lead to him?  Are there any other sightings of Jason or his vehicle away from the Hillsville Hampton Inn during the hours in question?

In early May 2007, Pat Young reported to investigators that several items of jewelry (including a pearl necklace) and $500 cash in a new wallet were missing from the crime scene.  As of the date of the warrant, none of the jewelry or the wallet had been accounted for.  However, the February 2008 search of Jason’s rented storage unit turned up three pearl necklaces.

Commentary:

Has it been determined if the missing pearl necklace is one of the three found in Jason’s storage unit? 

The theory regarding the $500 cash seems to be that it was not stolen but was used by Jason Young, in part to make a cash purchase of fuel for the extra mileage he would have had to drive in order to make the roundtrip return to Raleigh to commit the murder.  All other gas purchases were made with credit card and fit with the route Jason would have traveled to Clintwood, VA, on to Brevard, NC, and finally returning to Raleigh.  One has to wonder why Pat Young informed investigators of the missing jewelry and cash when she did  — six months after the murder.  Nevertheless, the cash purchase of gas is nothing more than a theory without more solid evidence to back it up.  Most gas stations have security cameras at the pump to thwart theft.  Might the WCSO have additional video evidence that has yet to be made public?

As you can see, no single piece of the evidence disclosed in the February 2008 warrant, when evaluated alone, is rock-solid proof that Jason Young is the person who brutally beat Michelle Young to death in the early morning hours of November 3, 2006.  When combined, the entire package is quite compelling, but is it enough to convince a jury of twelve of Jason’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt?  In a case based entirely on circumstantial evidence, the more evidence the better. 

Coming up:  Analysis of the November 6, 2008 warrant for data recovered from Jason Young’s Novo Nordisk computer and Conclusion to answering the question, “Why no arrest?”

Continue to Part II

An Apology to Readers

I’m sure it hasn’t gone unnoticed that I have yet to write a blog entry about the latest news in the Michelle Young investigation.  In case you are even more behind than I, here are some media links that will bring you up to date:

WRAL: Warrant gives new look into Michelle Young murder probe

N&O: Jason Young researched ‘knockout’

WTVD: Warrants reveal Jason Young affair

NC Wanted:  Warrant Shock: The Case Against Jason Young

I’d like to apologize to those of you who are interested in what I write on this blog for my failure to blog in a timely manner.  The fact is that I have another project with a pending deadline that has preoccupied my mind.  That along with other demands on my time have made it difficult for me to set aside enough uninterrupted time to compose an entry.  Said project has finally begun to materialize in my mind so that some of the fog has lifted and I believe I’ll be able to focus my attention on processing the information released in last week’s search warrant and hopefully draw some useful conclusions.  Although, truth be told, the quality of analysis, speculation, and debate that is generated by the members of the Friction Powered forum has probably made this blog obsolete.

In addition to the articles linked above, followers of the Michelle Young murder investigation will find the warrant itself very interesting and informative.  WRAL has posted a .pdf of the document on their site and the following is a direct link to it.

WRAL’s .pdf of the 11/6/08 Warrant

As stated last week on this blog, Linda Fisher filed a wrongful death suit against Jason Young that essentially seeks to exclude Jason Young from benefitting from his wife’s death.  Linda’s attorneys, Jack and Paul Michaels, intend to  prove that Jason Young was a principle in the murder of his wife Michelle Marie Fisher Young.  The lawyers spoke to the press last week, and the press conference is posted in its entirety on WRAL’s website.  The following is a direct link to the video.

WRAL: Web only: Attorneys speak on Young lawsuit

Check back later for that blog entry I’ve been promising.  In the meantime, you can keep up with the latest at Friction Powered Exchange.  Anyone who is interested is welcome to join the discussion.  Registration is simple, and the forum is often open to guest posting where no registration is required.

Michelle Young Wrongful Death Suit

The headline might be buried under election news, but it isn’t going unnoticed by those who have been patiently waiting for some activity in the Michelle Young case for most of the last two years.  In case you missed it, Linda Fisher has filed a wrongful death suit against her daughter’s husband, Jason Young.

LINK to WRAL.com’s story.

LINK to The News & Observer’s story.

Does this mean we’ll learn more about the evidence that implicates Jason Young in the brutal beating death of his pregnant wife, Michelle?  November 3 marked the two year anniversary of Michelle and baby Rylan’s deaths.  It’s time for some resolution.  Don’t you think?