RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The North Carolina Supreme Court on Friday overruled a Court of Appeals decision that Jason Young, convicted of murdering his wife in their Raleigh home, should get a new trial.
Jason Young was found guilty of murdering Michelle Young, who was pregnant at the time, in a second trial on March 5, 2012. The first trial ended in a hung jury after Jason Young surprised the defense by testifying at the end of the trial.
In the second trial, the state used his testimony against him, even opening the trial with video of his testimony and then attacking his assertions. That led to a conviction and sentence to life in prison.
However, Young’s attorneys appealed. They argued that two pieces of evidence should not have been admitted, one that Jason Young had not defended himself in a civil case and also that he had given up custody of their young daughter to Meredith Fisher, the sister of Michelle Young.
The Court of Appeals agreed on April 1, 2014. But on Friday, the Supreme Court issued a thunderous rebuttal, saying the Court of Appeals erred in those decisions. The Supreme Court sent the matter back to the Court of Appeals.
“We now reverse the Court of Appeals’ decision and remand this case to the Court of Appeals for consideration of defendant’s remaining challenges to the trial court’s judgment,” the Supreme Court wrote.
The court’s 44-page decision, written with lengthy and specific legal references, was effectively an endorsement of the work of Wake County Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens, who oversaw both Young trials.
Young is now in prison at Alexander Correctional Institute in Taylorsville in the western part of North Carolina. Michelle Young was found bludgeoned in their home on Nov. 3, 2006. Jason Young has always insisted he was at a hotel on a business trip in Virginia, but the fact that a video camera was tampered with, and a rock was left in a side door, worked against him in both trials.
Barbara Blackman, who represented Young in his Court of Appeals case, told WNCN, “Mr. Young’s case has been returned to the Court of Appeals for consideration of additional issues. In that situation the Court of Appeals typically does not call for new briefing or oral argument and issues a decision based on the briefs previously filed.”