Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Hung Jury

I am so pissed off, I can barely sputter.

As many of you know, I have been following the Michelle Young murder case for the entire four and a half years since her bludgeoned body was found by her sister, with Michelle's toddler walking around, tracking her mother's blood all over.

For those of us who have been following trials such as this for...(has it really been nearly nine years since Scott Peterson killed Laci and dumped her body in San Francisco Bay?), it is obvious that Jason Young killed Michelle, just as Scott killed Laci. 

Jason was smarter about it than Scott, though, having planned his crime for longer than Scott did.  The smartest thing Jason did was to refuse to talk to anyone about the crime.  Hence, when he decided to take the stand in his own defense last Thursday, the prosecution was ill-prepared.  Jason rattled on for four hours, all boyish innocence, refuting the prosecution's case point by point and line by line.  It was easy to see that he made his living as a salesman.

There are several reasons for the hung jury, in my opinion.  One (and this is big) is that the highly-touted prosecutor was just not bringing her "A" game.  In her Case in Chief, she appeared to assume that the jury could connect the dots by themselves.  She is a very experienced prosecutor.  How could she overestimate the jury like that?  The case was entirely circumstantial, and yet, there were pieces of evidence that were never presented at trial.  How was it not considered important that Jason and Michelle had huge life insurance policies on each other?  Jason's supporters on the message boards maintained that the fact that they each had them cancelled out their importance.  Not so.  The thing that makes it more significant than ever is that Jason never claimed the money.  He would have had to make a deposition in order to do so, and that would have entailed breaking his silence about the crime.  Couldn't do that.  No.  His lawyer told him not to.  Why was this not mentioned AT ALL by the prosecution?  A million dollars makes a pretty good and understandable motive, as far as I can see. 

In a different case, people have been laughing about Jose Baez and his easel, but the fact remains that some sort of visual aid is very helpful to a jury.  In this trial, a timeline and/or map would have been useful.  Something to show that Jason could have driven from Hillsville to Raleigh and back in the time available.  Huge pictures of Jason's feet, obtained by NTO should have been displayed, with a podiatrist pointing out that the red marks on his toes could well have been caused by walking around in shoes that were too small.  The prosecutor never did that, and it would have gone a long way toward explaining the two sets of different-sized footprints found at the scene.  Nobody put an expert on the stand to explain that the fact that Michelle received at least thirty blows to the head, breaking her skull and knocking out her teeth, indicates that the killer was an intimate of hers.  Strangers do not do that.  Strangers do not tidy up the toddler and tuck her into bed with a lullaby playing.  Husbands and fathers do things like that.  Husbands and fathers who are killers. 

The prosecution simply did not do its job.

I think another issue is that we have all watched much too much "CSI" and other fictional police dramas where DNA is found in unlikely places, and always yields results that nail down the criminal without a shadow of a doubt.  Have we lost the ability to discriminate between fiction and reality?  In real life, DNA is not so easily found, or identified.  Before we had the ability to analyze DNA and use it in crime solving, most cases were decided via circumstantial evidence and common sense.  Now, juries no longer trust such things.  Nobody told the jury to ask themselves who else could have done this.

So Jason is a decent salesman, the prosecutor needed some Geritol, and the jury needed a brain, and the end result is a hung jury.  A HUNG JURY, after about twelve hours of deliberation!  The jury members seemed more concerned about whether or not they would be harassed by the public or the press than obtaining justice for the victims in this case.  Yes, I said "victims."  Plural.  Michelle Young was five months pregnant at the time of her death, so there were two people killed.  Her daughter has to grow up without her mother, and Michelle's sister is raising her, with help from Michelle's mother.  All these people have Michelle-sized holes in their hearts that will never be filled.

Send out some Good Thinks that the case will be retried, and that the prosecution will correct their errors and present their case with the passion and commitment that Michelle, her unborn child and her loving family so deserve.


  1. When I heard this news yesterday I was astounded! I didn't have the opportunity to watch the trial, but you've done a bang up job of summing it up. My head is still shaking and wondering when there will be justice for Michelle and her unborn child!

  2. I can not believe it, and I agree this was complex and the prosec just didn't lead the jury down the trail. They failed to include crucial parts as you said. It is sad. And the sicko or his horrid family could attempt to regain custody. That would bring this horror to a epic new level. God Bless Meredith & her family.