Jason Young, Accused of Murdering Pregnant Wife Michelle Young After Affairs, Appears In Court

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(Family Photo)
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RALEIGH, N.C. (CBS) Jason Young, a North Carolina husband who now stands accused of murdering his pregnant wife, Michelle Young, and leaving his then-2-year-old daughter at the crime scene, appeared in court Tuesday, where he was appointed a public defender and ordered to remain in jail without bond.

Photo: Jason Young is led to a magistrate at the Wake County Jail in Raleigh, N.C. on Monday, Dec. 14, 2009.

Authorities have charged Young, 35, with first-degree murder after a three-year investigation.

Michelle Young, 29, was five months pregnant when she was found beaten to death in her home on Nov. 3, 2006. Jason Young was allegedly having adulterous affairs and has long been a suspect.

Photo: Oct. 2003 wedding of Jason and Michelle Young.

In March, a Wake County judge awarded Michelle Young's family $15.5 million in damages in a wrongful death suit against him.

Authorities have previously said Jason Young refused to cooperate with the investigation into his wife's murder.

On Tuesday, CBS Raleigh affiliate WRAL was in the courtroom.

Photo: Michelle Young and daughter Cassidy.

They report that Jason Young, dressed in an orange and white jumpsuit, "appeared calm during his first court appearance and spoke politely and with a soft voice before Judge Jane Gray."

Young told the judge Gray that he could not afford his attorney, whom he retained three years ago following his wife's death, WRAL reports. At his request, Gray appointed him a public defender.

Photo: Jason and Michelle Young.

Several friends and family of Michelle Young came to the hearing to support the memory of their loved one.

Authorities arrested Jason Young in Brevard, a town in southwestern North Carolina on Monday. Deputies pulled him over at about 1:30 p.m., while he was driving. He arrived at the Wake County jail Monday evening for booking.

The arrest came immediately after a grand jury returned a "true bill of indictment" against Young, three years after he was alleged to have murdered his wife.

Photo: Suburban North Carolina home of Jason and Michelle Young.

Michelle Young's friends were relieved by the "bittersweet" news.

"It's tragic, because Michelle's daughter has lost her mother and her father is in jail," Carol Nelson, Michelle Young's manager at Progress Energy, where she worked as a financial specialist, said to WRAL.

According to search warrants in the case, Jason Young told investigators he was out of town on business when his wife was killed. Michelle Young's sister, Meredith Fisher, found her body after he asked her to go to the couple's home to retrieve a fax.

Photo: Michelle Young and daughter Cassidy.

In Fisher's 911 call she says, "There's like blood footprints all over the house, like her daughter's little footprints." There were no signs of forced entry.


Records show Jason Young and Michelle Money, a friend of Young's wife, contacted each other 980 times within one month of the murder, and 51 times the day before. Michelle Money was the last person Jason Young contacted on the eve of the murder, and first person he called the morning of the murder.

Testifying during a hearing regarding the wrongful death lawsuit, Wake County Sheriff's Department investigator R.C. Spivey called the slaying "particularly brutal."

"(It was) the most severe physical beating I've ever seen someone encounter," he said. "This [was] pretty extreme, a pretty vicious attack that she underwent."

An autopsy found that Michelle Young died from blunt force trauma to the head after being hit at least 10 times. The report also suggests that her killer tried to strangle her before beating her to death.

Investigators haven't offered a motive for the killing, but, in search warrants, investigators have described the couple's marriage as a "volatile" relationship that included violent arguments and infidelity on his part.

"It's been a long time coming," Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison said to WRAL Monday of Young's arrest. "But cases like this, it takes time."

December 16, 2009 - Jason Young Arrested for Allegedly Beating Pregnant Wife Michelle Young to Death in North Carolina