Archive for March, 2010|Monthly archive page

Jason Young: Lying in Wait

By North Carolina statute, a charge of first degree murder requires at least one attendant circumstance. 

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-17

A murder which shall be perpetrated by means of a nuclear, biological, or chemical weapon of mass destruction as defined in G.S. 14‑288.21, poison, lying in wait, imprisonment, starving, torture, or by any other kind of willful, deliberate, and premeditated killing, or which shall be committed in the perpetration or attempted perpetration of any arson, rape or a sex offense, robbery, kidnapping, burglary, or other felony committed or attempted with the use of a deadly weapon shall be deemed to be murder in the first degree, a Class A felony, and any person who commits such murder shall be punished with death or imprisonment in the State’s prison for life without parole as the court shall determine pursuant to G.S. 15A‑2000…

The previous blog entry, Exceeding Malice Aforethought, addressed the circumstance of “willful, deliberate, and premeditated”.  A second attendant circumstance that may be considered applicable to Michelle Young’s murder is that of “lying in wait”. 

Black’s Law Dictionary defines the phrase “lying in wait” as follows: 

The series of acts involved in watching, waiting for, and hiding from someone with the intent of killing or inflicting serious bodily injury on that person.

I believe that the actions Jason Young took on the night of November 2-3, 2006, qualify as lying in wait. In order to demonstrate the aptness of the phrase, it is necessary to break down the series of acts as described above and apply them to Jason’s alleged activities.

Watching Michelle Young

As Michelle’s husband, Jason knew his wife’s routine.  He watched for an occasion when there would be no overnight guests in the home.  He knew what her plans were for that Thursday evening.  He knew that, but for Cassidy’s presence in the home, Michelle would be alone after Shelly Schaad departed.  As homeowner and resident, he was intimately familiar with the layout of the house.  He knew that getting inside, contending with the dog, and navigating his way to the master bedroom to locate his target would give him no trouble.  He knew that he far outmatched Michelle in size and strength and that he could increase his advantage with the element of surprise.

Waiting for Michelle Young

Jason left home that Thursday evening with the intention of waiting until Michelle was at her most vulnerable before returning to attack her.  He waited until he could establish an alibi at the Hampton Inn in Hillsville, Virginia.  He waited until he was sure that Shelly had left the residence.  He waited until such a time as Michelle and Cassidy could be expected to be sleeping soundly in their own beds.

Hiding from Michelle Young

Jason used darkness, dead of night, and deceit to hide from Michelle.  She believed that he was in Virginia and wouldn’t return until Friday evening at the earliest.  He led her to believe that he would be spending the night in a hotel, attending a business meeting the next morning, and swinging by his mother’s house in Brevard before returning home.  She had no reason to suspect that he would sneak back in the dead of night to kill her while she slept.  His malicious intent was hidden from her by his ruse.  His presence was hidden from her through the stealth afforded by darkness, dead of night, and her own slumber.

Jason’s alleged actions comprise the elements of lying in wait and thereby establish an attendant circumstance necessary to elevate the charge against him to first degree murder.  That being said, “lying in wait” and “willful, deliberate, and premeditated” are not mutually exclusive elements.  One compounds the other just as Jason’s status as Michelle’s husband and father to Cassidy and Rylan (still in his mother’s womb) compounds the heinousness of the crime — an unquestionably brutal and merciless murder.