As many of you are aware, I’ve spent a great deal of time analyzing the Brad Cooper case. Well, the Jason Young case has me equally concerned. Much like the Cooper case, I kept waiting to hear the evidence but it never surfaced. I saw similar tactics in both cases – fabricated evidence, untrustworthy testimony by State witnesses, attempts to discredit defense witnesses. After watching the trial, I could only conclude that not only was there insufficient evidence to convict Jason Young, it’s very likely he is innocent.
I’m planning to cover a lot of the case, but in this post I want to focus on the jury. In the Cooper trial, we heard very little from them so we still don’t really know much about how they reached a guilty verdict but we DO know how the Young jurors arrived at a guilty verdict and it’s worthy of discussion. The judge’s instructions were explicit. They were to presume Young’s innocence, Young was not required to prove his innocence, they were not to hold it against him if he opted not to testify and they were permitted to consider circumstantial evidence in deciding the verdict. They clearly disregarded all of them.
Circumstantial evidence is described as a string of facts that indicate guilt of innocence. The key word being facts. The so called circumstantial evidence presented in this case was not linked to Jason Young in any way.
- “missing” shirt – the jurors stated that this was one of the pieces of CE used to convict Young. The night of the murder Young was seen in a Hampton Inn video wearing striped shirt. Did police immediately search for that shirt to prove or disprove his involvement? NO. They waited almost 3 years and then finally initiated a search warrant to search for the shirt. The afternoon that Michelle was found dead in their home, Jason and some of his family members drove immediately to Raleigh. Upon their arrival, police immediately seized his Ford Explorer and all items contained within it. Did they record each item? NO. Did they take photos of the contents? NO. Yet the jury wants to hold Young accountable for the shirt he was seen wearing in the video that night! If anyone is responsible, it is the police. They took the items and if it was important they should have inventoried everything and taken photos!
- It was the same thing with his shoes. A footprint on a pillow at the crime scene looked similar to a pair of Hushpuppy shoes Young purchased about a year before the murder. Actually, to be clear – two footprints were found – a size 10 athletic shoe and approximately a size 12 Hushpuppy (indicating two people may have been involved). Because Young at one time owned a pair of Hushpuppy shoes AND a print was found at the scene, the jurors want him to present those shoes to prove his innocence. Jason testifed at the first trial (which ended in a hung jury/mistrial) that he does not know what happened to the shoes but that it’s likely his wife donated them to Goodwill. Sounds reasonable. But no. Let’s force him to present those shoes to prove his innocence. Again, this goes against the judge’s instructions – that he is NOT expected to prove his innocence.
- The State alleged that he was seen by a mentally impaired woman at a gas station in King, NC the morning of the murder. Conveniently there was no working camera in the gas station and since he allegedly paid cash, there is no documentation that he was ever there. Oh, and she described him as balding (he is not) and “slightly” taller than herself (she is 5 feet tall, he is over 6 feet). And she identified him based on one photo. Remember, this is part of the “mountain of circumstantial evidence”.
- The clerk at the Hampton Inn testified that someone unplugged one of the security cameras that night (no proof) and that someone propped open one of the exit doors that night (no proof) so this was also added to the mountain of CE. Is it even realistic to believe that an intelligent man is going to drive 340 miles roundtrip to commit a brutal murder and peg it all on a propped open exit door?! If the door is secured that night (it was, according to the clerk), Young would have to risk being seen entering the building early that morning, destroying his alibi. Oh, and he also allegedly left his hotel room door propped open the entire night because we know he got his hotel receipt and his hotel key was NOT swiped.
Young exercised his 5th amendment right – Although he testified in the first trial, he did not testify in the second trial. Likely it is because the prosecutors showed that testimony to the jury. What more was he to say? The jurors disregarded the judge’s instructions when they held that against him as a sign of guilt. Likewise they thought he was guilty due to “lack of emotion”.
This is happening again and again all across the country. The jury is not taking their oath seriously and they are wrongly convicting so many people! The State has the burden of proof but juries today are not holding them to it. I suppose if they are ever to be accused of a crime they would want a better informed group of jurors than themselves. They should all be ashamed.
Here is a short video containing some of their post verdict comments: