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Jason Young appealing murder conviction

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Jason Young is appealing his conviction on first-degree murder, according to documents in the North Carolina appellate courts.

Young was convicted March 4, 2012, of killing his wife, Michelle, on Nov. 3, 2006. Judge Donald Stephens presided over the trial in Wake County Superior Court. A jury in the summer of 2011 could not reach a verdict, leading to a second trial.

According to the appeal, Young claims the trial court "committed reversible error in admitting testimony relating to a wrongful death action and declaration under the slayer statue that Mr. Young killed his wife."

Read the Jason Young appeal

The complaint also said:

* the "trial court erred in admitting the child custody complaint."

* the trial court "committed riverside error in admitting statements of Cassidy Young which did not qualify under any hearsay exception, were irrelevant, and were overwhelmingly prejudicial." (You can read that testimony here)

* the trial court "committed plain error in instructing the jury that it could consider Mr. Young's failure to talk to friends and family as substantive evidence of guilt."

Young testified in his first trial that he did not kill his wife. He did not testify in the second trial.

After his conviction, Judge Stephens had tough words for Young. Speaking from the bench, Stephens said, "He had not only motive and opportunity, but the circumstances at the crime scene point directly to him.

"I have no quarrel with this verdict."

Young is now at Alexander Correctional Institute in Taylorsville on a life sentence.

The state won a conviction in the second trial by revamping its approach after the first jury did not convict Young. In the second trial, the state presented:

  • Two workers from the Country Sunshine day care center, which Cassidy had attended on Avent Ferry Road, testified to how Cassidy had slammed two dolls together and how the "mommy" doll needed a spanking. That testimony proved some of the most riveting of the trial, and it's that testimony that the defense is now challenging in the appeal.
  • Jennifer Powers, a friend of Michelle's from high school, testified that Michelle had told her Jason was unhappy she was pregnant with Cassidy and wanted an abortion.
  • Psychologist Kimball Sargant testified about the hour she spent with Michelle a week before she was killed, and how Michelle cried the entire time.
  • Raleigh attorney Mike Schilawski testified about the lawsuit the Fishers brought, seeking visitation rights to Cassidy. Jason Young decided to give up custody rather than fight the lawsuit.
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