Monday, November 08, 2010

Forum temporarily down

I've received a few emails expressing concern about the discussion forum being currently unavailable. The reason for this is that HQ Forums (the hosting service) is changing servers. FPX should be back online in a day or so. I'm sorry for the inconvenience.


Update:  I expected the forum to have been back online by now.  Until it returns, everyone is welcome to post at the alternate site:  FPX II.

FPX is back in business.  Thanks for your patience, everyone!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Jason Young: Rule 24 Hearing

Today at 3:20 pm, Jason Young will learn whether or not he faces the death penalty for the 2006 murder of his pregnant wife, Michelle Marie Fisher Young.  Anyone interested in the proceedings can follow timely updates on the FPX forum courtesy of two forum members local to Raleigh, namely RPD and gorealtors.

Click HERE to proceed to the FPX forum.

In case you haven't already been made aware, the prosecutor announced today that the death penalty will not be sought against Jason Young.  With that decision, the most severe sentence that can be imposed is life without the possibility of parole.  Jury selection is scheduled to begin on May 16, 2011.  In the meantime, expect more hearings to address motions to suppress evidence, change of venue, etc.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

FPX Now Open

The hijacking issue at the original FPX appears to have been fixed. The forum is now open to posting. Please notify me of any problems. You can post a message in the comment thread of this blog entry or send me an email through the contact form by clicking the small envelope in the sidebar of this blog.


Friday, July 30, 2010

Kyron Horman: Missing for 8 Weeks

I hope to write a blog entry about this case soon. In the meantime, I'll just provide video to the latest press conference held by Kyron's parents and hope that someone out there will respond to their pleas for information. 

The first one is a better video quality, but the reporters' questions are edited out.  The second one includes questions -- helpful for getting the full gist of the responses.

LINK to the Oregonian's story.

LINK to KATU's story.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Forum Temporarily Closed

The Friction Powered Information Exchange is closed until further notice due to intrusive ads and hijacking problems. I apologize for the inconvenience and any frustration it has caused. In the meantime, everyone is welcome to post here at the blog in the comment section of this entry. As an alternative, there is another forum available to anyone who wishes to register.

Click to go to the new (perhaps temporary) Friction Powered Exchange forum. If you choose to use it, be patient with me while I get accustomed to the Admin panel which is more complex than the one I'm used to using.

If the original FPX reopens, I'll post a notice here and at FPX II.

Important addendum:

I just became aware that the registration form on the new forum is asking for full name and birthdate. I would alter that requirement if I could. As it is, all I can say is I would not provide such personal information. As long as you provide a "name" and a birthdate that makes your age greater than 18, I don't think there will be any problem.

The original FPX forum is currently open. Please proceed there to participate in the discussion.

LINK to FPX forum

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Wall Street Reform

How can anything that makes a socialist this happy be good?

Friday, July 09, 2010

Terri Moulton Horman

Whatever life you imagined you could create for yourself by eliminating Kyron from it isn't going to happen. As long as Kyron Horman remains missing, you will not have a moment's peace. He isn't going to be forgotten. Everyone knows that you are responsible for whatever has happened to him. That knowledge isn't going to fade away. You cannot escape it -- neither with the passage of time nor the insertion of distance. Your life is going to be a living hell. The only way to make things better -- for yourself as well as for everyone else -- is to tell the truth.

Where is Kyron?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Michelle Young Case Update

This update is slightly dated, but I thought it might be helpful for those searching for news about Jason Young.  Jason is currently in the Wake County jail awaiting trial for the 2006 murder of his pregnant wife, Michelle Marie Fisher Young.  Young was indicted by a Wake County grand jury on December 14, 2009, and arrested in Brevard the same day.  Since that time, two hearings have been continued.  A Rule 24 hearing originally scheduled for March 18, 2010 -- at which time the district attorney was to have notified the court as to whether or not the death penalty would be sought -- was continued.  The case was again continued on June 17 with the delay attributed to the state's need for more time to sort through all of the evidence against Jason Young and turn everything over to Young's defense team.  The next court date is August 26, at which time, the prosecution must without further delay present the court with their intentions regarding the death penalty. 

Click HERE for the latest news report.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Amanda and Raffaele Are Innocent

I've said it before. I wish I had followed the Amanda Knox/Raffaele Sollecito/Meredith Kercher case better and blogged about it in real time, but I just didn't have the time to do it justice. There are a couple of blogs that I try to follow that have focused on the investigation and trial. I've linked them in the sidebar and decided to post a brief entry to introduce them to you.

Science Spheres

Currently focused on the Knox/Sollecito trial in Perugia, Italy where the prosecution's forensic science effort has lapsed into the realm of pseudoscience. In the future, Science Spheres will harbor discussions on issues that lie along the interphase between science, politics, business, and people.
Knox Archives blog
The ridiculous case against Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito

I heartily recommend both of these blogs to anyone who is interested in the Knox/Sollecito/Kercher case and to anyone concerned about wrongful convictions.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Jason Young: Lying in Wait

By North Carolina statute, a charge of first degree murder requires at least one attendant circumstance.
N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-17

A murder which shall be perpetrated by means of a nuclear, biological, or chemical weapon of mass destruction as defined in G.S. 14‑288.21, poison, lying in wait, imprisonment, starving, torture, or by any other kind of willful, deliberate, and premeditated killing, or which shall be committed in the perpetration or attempted perpetration of any arson, rape or a sex offense, robbery, kidnapping, burglary, or other felony committed or attempted with the use of a deadly weapon shall be deemed to be murder in the first degree, a Class A felony, and any person who commits such murder shall be punished with death or imprisonment in the State’s prison for life without parole as the court shall determine pursuant to G.S. 15A‑2000…

The previous blog entry, Exceeding Malice Aforethought, addressed the circumstance of "willful, deliberate, and premeditated". A second attendant circumstance that may be considered applicable to Michelle Young's murder is that of "lying in wait".

Black's Law Dictionary defines the phrase "lying in wait" as follows:
The series of acts involved in watching, waiting for, and hiding from someone with the intent of killing or inflicting serious bodily injury on that person.

I believe that the actions Jason Young took on the night of November 2-3, 2006, qualify as lying in wait. In order to demonstrate the aptness of the phrase, it is necessary to break down the series of acts as described above and apply them to Jason's alleged activities.
Watching Michelle Young
As Michelle's husband, Jason knew his wife's routine. He watched for an occasion when there would be no overnight guests in the home. He knew what her plans were for that Thursday evening. He knew that, but for Cassidy's presence in the home, Michelle would be alone after Shelly Schaad departed. As homeowner and resident, he was intimately familiar with the layout of the house. He knew that getting inside, contending with the dog, and navigating his way to the master bedroom to locate his target would give him no trouble. He knew that he far outmatched Michelle in size and strength and that he could increase his advantage with the element of surprise.
Waiting for Michelle Young
Jason left home that Thursday evening with the intention of waiting until Michelle was at her most vulnerable before returning to attack her. He waited until he could establish an alibi at the Hampton Inn in Hillsville, Virginia. He waited until he was sure that Shelly had left the residence. He waited until such a time as Michelle and Cassidy could be expected to be sleeping soundly in their own beds.
Hiding from Michelle Young
Jason used darkness, dead of night, and deceit to hide from Michelle. She believed that he was in Virginia and wouldn't return until Friday evening at the earliest. He led her to believe that he would be spending the night in a hotel, attending a business meeting the next morning, and swinging by his mother's house in Brevard before returning home. She had no reason to suspect that he would sneak back in the dead of night to kill her while she slept. His malicious intent was hidden from her by his ruse. His presence was hidden from her through the stealth afforded by darkness, dead of night, and her own slumber.

Jason's alleged actions comprise the elements of lying in wait and thereby establish an attendant circumstance necessary to elevate the charge against him to first degree murder. That being said, "lying in wait" and "willful, deliberate, and premeditated" are not mutually exclusive elements. One compounds the other just as Jason's status as Michelle's husband and father to Cassidy and Rylan (still in his mother's womb) compounds the heinousness of the crime -- an unquestionably brutal and merciless murder.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Exceeding Malice Aforethought

On Monday, December 14, 2009, following more than three years of investigation by the Wake County Sheriff's Office and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, Jason Young was arrested for the beating death of his wife, Michelle Marie Fisher Young. The Wake County District Attorney's office presented the case to a grand jury on Monday morning. By 1:30 pm, a true bill of indictment had been returned charging Jason Young with one count of first degree murder. Michelle was 20 weeks pregnant with a son to be named Rylan at the time of her death, but North Carolina law does not provide for a second murder charge for the death of the unborn child.

The Law

At common law, for a person to be convicted of murder it had to be proven not only that the defendant committed the act of taking another person's life, but also that the defendant did so with malice aforethought. In other words, the defendant committed the act that resulted in the death of the victim and did so with the intent of killing the victim. These are known as the actus reus and mens rea elements of the crime. North Carolina statute requires these same elements to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt in order to secure a murder conviction. In addition, a first degree murder charge has special requirements beyond act and intent.

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-17

A murder which shall be perpetrated by means of a nuclear, biological, or chemical weapon of mass destruction as defined in G.S. 14‑288.21, poison, lying in wait, imprisonment, starving, torture, or by any other kind of willful, deliberate, and premeditated killing, or which shall be committed in the perpetration or attempted perpetration of any arson, rape or a sex offense, robbery, kidnapping, burglary, or other felony committed or attempted with the use of a deadly weapon shall be deemed to be murder in the first degree, a Class A felony, and any person who commits such murder shall be punished with death or imprisonment in the State's prison for life without parole as the court shall determine pursuant to G.S. 15A‑2000...

I'm not a lawyer, but I believe the phrase "willful, deliberate, and premeditated" is the key phrase in this statute as applied to Michelle Young's murder.* People often confuse the term premeditation with planning. However, premeditation is simply intent that is formulated prior to the act being committed. There is no time constraint which dictates or limits how much time must elapse between the formulation of intent and the act itself. Nevertheless, I believe that the facts of this case will show that Jason Young planned with cool deliberation -- for days, weeks, possibly even months -- to murder Michelle. You may wonder why I say that. If so, keep reading, and I will try to explain.

Basic Facts of the Case

  1. Jason departed 5108 Birchleaf Drive in the Enchanted Oaks subdivision of Raleigh, North Carolina, between 7:00 pm and 7:30 pm on November 2, 2006 for a business trip in Clintwood, Virginia.

  2. At 7:32 pm, Jason purchased gas at the Handee Hugo #89 before leaving Raleigh.

  3. At 10:49 pm, Jason checked in at the Hampton Inn in Hillsville, Virginia, taking a room on the 4th floor.

  4. Between the hours of midnight and 6:00 am on November 3, Michelle Young was brutally murdered in the master bedroom of the couple's home.

  5. Between the hours of midnight and 7:40 am, Jason's whereabouts are unaccounted for.

Theories and Opinions

If you read the Internet forums that are dedicated to the discussion of this case, you will probably see that opinions as to how this crime went down run the full range. There are those who believe that Jason Young is innocent. I won't use this opportunity to debate that point. The reader will have to assume for the sake of argument that Jason returned home during the night and killed Michelle. Others believe the murder to have been a crime of passion. Then there are those who believe that the murder was planned, but opinions vary as to how far in advance the planning began. I'll address each of these in turn.

Theory #1: A Crime of Passion
The rationale behind the "crime of passion" theory is that Jason returned to Raleigh that night only with the intent of settling an argument or talking Michelle out of divorcing him. Unfortunately, the situation escalated and Jason became enraged, reacting with the lethal force that left Michelle bludgeoned to death on the bedroom floor. The problem with this theory is that the evidence from the Hampton Inn contradicts it.

A still from security video taken at the front desk of the Hampton Inn shows Jason checking in at 10:49-10:51 pm. It can be seen that he is wearing a long-sleeved, light-colored, pullover type shirt with a button placket. At 10:55 pm, Jason's cardkey is used to open the door to his room on the fourth floor. The next time Jason is seen on the hotel's security camera system is approximately 1 hour later when he approaches the front desk at 11:59 pm. At this time, it can be seen that he is wearing a shirt different from the one he was wearing on arrival at the hotel. The second shirt is described as a dark-colored pullover with a lighter colored horizontal stripe bisecting the chest and a zipper at the neck. A few seconds after his appearance at the front desk, Jason is seen walking down the corridor toward a side exit located at the west end of the building. A member of the hotel staff found a rock in the door jamb of this exit that prevented the latch from engaging; the effect of this would be to allow reentry through the door without using a hotel cardkey. Also of interest is the fact that the security camera located in the stairwell adjacent to this exit was unplugged at 11:20 pm. Other guests of the hotel were interviewed by investigators and stated that they had no knowledge of or involvement in the camera being disconnected.

If you assume that Jason was responsible for unplugging the stairwell camera and propping the side-exit door, it is only logical to conclude that his reason for doing so was to prevent his movements and activities from being electronically tracked and preserved by the hotel's security system. There would be no reason to worry about such things if he was going home only to talk to Michelle. Jason's hotel receipt was found in his Ford Explorer when he returned to the Raleigh area the next evening. Hotel staff would have slid it under the door in the middle of the night while he was far away from the hotel. The only way for him to have retrieved that receipt would be to return to the hotel the following morning and enter his room. The fact that his cardkey was not used the next morning (or anytime after he was seen in the lobby and corridor at midnight) indicates that he also tampered with the door to his room to prevent it from latching. All of these things, coupled with the change of clothes, indicate that Jason's intentions were nefarious prior to his leaving the Hampton Inn at midnight.

Malice was formed prior to 11:20 pm on November 2, 2006.

Theory #2: Planned After Arriving at the Hotel
This theory suggests that although things were very bad within the marriage, the intent to kill was not formed until Jason spoke to Michelle from the Hampton Inn at 11:04 pm. Perhaps whatever occurred during the seventeen calls to Michelle between 9:56 and 11:04 pm built up a rage or a cold desire in Jason to rid himself of Michelle once and for all. In my opinion, the seventeen phone calls are the only evidence to support this theory. And really, it's nothing more than speculation that can be refuted by other evidence.

Jason chose to stop at the Hillsville Hampton Inn because it suited his purpose. Located halfway between home and his destination, it was just far enough from home to give him a reasonable alibi but also close enough to allow him to return home in the middle of the night to commit the murder and return to the hotel before daybreak. Testimony from the hearing for the wrongful death judgment revealed that Jason called a couple of his friends during his drive and gave each of them different stories as to why he was stopping at Hillsville. He told one friend that he was tired from driving the curvy roads; the other he told that he was stopping so he could watch a big football game on television. Why lie about his reasons for stopping in Hillsville except to cover up the true reason behind his choice of lodging?

Coincidences happen, but I don't believe that it was any coincidence that the hotel he chose just happened to have security cameras in the stairwells that could be so easily disconnected. Even if you tried to make an argument that it was a coincidence, you would also have to assume that Jason decided to return home to murder Michelle, after which he just happened look at the stairwell camera, noticed that it was possible to unplug it, and decided it was necessary to do so -- all of this occurring within half an hour of check-in. The odds are most definitely against it.

The side trip to Brevard was arranged while en route to Hillsville. No matter how many times I hear the excuse that he was swinging by to pick up furniture for Cassidy's new bedroom, it makes no sense. It was Homecoming weekend at NCSU. Jason and Michelle were expecting houseguests (more his friends than hers) who were to arrive that Friday afternoon. Even if you accept that the business meeting in Clintwood, Virginia, was legitimate, the side trip to Brevard doesn't fit. Traveling straight home from his meeting would have allowed him to get home well before his friends arrived. Swinging through Brevard delayed his return at least until late evening, and into midday on Saturday if he planned to spend the night at his mom's.

Malice was formed prior to 10:49 pm on November 2, 2006.

Theory #3: Planned During the Drive from Raleigh to Hillsville
There's little difference between theory #2 and theory #3. The reasoning behind this theory is based upon the unbearable state of the marriage and Michelle's counseling sessions with Kimball Jane Sargent. It holds that Michelle had informed Jason prior to his departure that she wanted a divorce and he shouldn't come back home after his business trip. The thought of losing Cassidy and being saddled with child support was more than Jason could bear so he formulated the plan to kill Michelle as he drove and brooded.

The problem with this theory is that it ignores the Coach purse printout and Jason's odd behavior toward Shelly Schaad. Jason hung around until after 7:00, purposely delaying his departure until Shelly arrived so that he could tell her about his trip in great detail and show her the Coach purse eBay printout. If he had taken off earlier in the day, he could have driven all the way to Clintwood rather than spending the night in a hotel just across the state line. Instead, he hung around to sow the seeds of his alibi before he ever left home.

Malice was formed prior to 7:32 pm on November 2, 2006.

Theory #4: Planned Before Leaving Home
This is the theory that the evidence supports. The only question that remains is how long before leaving home did the planning begin? Hours, days, weeks, months? It would help to know when Jason scheduled the November 3 meeting with the Dickenson Communtiy Hospital representative. Perhaps more enlightening would be to discover how and when he came to pick that particular hospital when it wasn't even in his territory. Did he do some Googling for hospitals in western Virginia for the specific purpose of enabling him to "swing through Brevard since he would be in the area"?

Theory #5: The Weekend Before
This may seem a new theory, but it's something I've been mulling over for a while. It's necessary first that I provide a few pieces of information that you may not have heard before now. The following items come from confidential sources, and I believe them to be true.

  1. Michelle's dad, Alan Fisher, was supposed to come for a visit the week that Michelle was murdered. His travel plans were cancelled rather suddenly because of an appointment that was made with an oncologist on short notice.

  2. As has been deduced from the eBay auction expiration date, the Coach purse auction, assuming that it was a standard 7-day auction, would have begun on October 26. I'm told that Jason consulted at least one friend about the Coach purse at some point during the week of October 22-28.

  3. Jason had planned to travel to Brevard the weekend of October 27-29. His plans changed abruptly. It appears that he did leave home that weekend and returned on the evening of October 31, but he didn't travel to Brevard. I'm told he traveled to a state that begins with a "T". As you know, there are only two -- Texas and Tennessee. I vote for the latter being his destination.
On October 28, 2006, Jason and Michelle Money had the following email conversation:

Michelle Money – “I hope your doing okay! IMY and I am sorry that you are having a bad day.

I wish that I could make everyday a great day for you and you do the same for me. I would change thins if we could but we can’t. I want to enjoy what I can and make the best of it. I love that we are open and caring and loving and sharing with each other. It is so important. I feel so lucky that I have all that from you and have you in my life.


Jason Young – “missing you so much…got a nice beer buzz…after hour hours of “counseling” with meredith and debating/arguing with michelle. thank God for meredith is all i can say…that girl is so level headed and cool…once again, a “bigger” girl with a cool personality”

“i feel lucky just to know you, much less love you, but i do.

i don’t know how all this happened, but I know how it will end up…two broken hearts…but, I don’t care. i know there is pain in my future, but you are so worth it, even if it’s only for a “blink” in time.”

Michelle Money – “Missing you so much!!! I won’t even get in to my husbands lack of rama, affection, attention, etc…”

“I am glad Meredith was there to support you and I am sad for you and Michelle that it is not a good mix. I wish things were different for all of us.”

“Miss you tons!”

It's apparent from the exchange that Jason and Michelle were fighting. A log of calls that Jason made to his home during the same period of time indicates that Jason was away on a trip:
  • Saturday, 10/28/06: 5 calls

  • Sunday, 10/29/06: 2 calls

  • Monday, 10/30/06: 1 call

There were no calls between the Youngs for more than two weeks prior to October 28 and no calls after October 30 until the day Jason left on his business trip to Virginia on November 2. The fact that there were five calls on Saturday fit with the scenario that Jason and Michelle were fighting. In fact, if you look at the October timeline and compare Jason's calling patterns (particularly, calls to Pat Young and to Meredith Fisher) you will notice that the numbers of calls to those two individuals increase in relationship to turmoil within the Youngs' marriage. As you may recall, the ring-swallowing incident, which was very upsetting to Michelle, also occurred that last week in October. It appears to have been a very tumultuous week.

Putting all of these pieces together, I'm inclined to believe that Plan A was as follows:
  1. Consult friends about the Coach purse during the week of October 22-27

  2. Travel to Brevard for the weekend of October 27-29 with plans to continue on to Tennessee for work-related purposes on the 29th or 30th and return home on Halloween.

  3. Sneak away in the middle of the night on Friday or Saturday night to kill Michelle and return to the mountains of North Carolina before daybreak.

  4. Arrange to have Michelle's body discovered by Meredith or someone else.

  5. Sob in the bosom of his family when the murder is discovered.

It's even conceivable that he planned to take Cassidy with him to the mountains that weekend so that she would not be abandoned with her mother's corpse as was done in Plan B.

If Plan A had worked, the eBay auction for the Coach purse would have been in full swing and not due to expire until several days after Michelle's death. Jason wouldn't have had to use a fifteen minute meeting at a small community hospital that wasn't even in his sales territory as his alibi. He wouldn't have had to use the excuse of swinging through (hours out of his way) to pick up furniture for Cassidy to explain his presence in Brevard. His trip to Brevard wouldn't have conflicted with the arrival of houseguests for NCSU Homecoming, thereby throwing more suspicion on his journey.

So why did Plan A get scrapped? In my opinion, it was because there was too much fighting going on between Jason and Michelle at that time that was well known to friends and family. The turmoil would have thrown suspicion on Jason in the eyes of Meredith and the friends who were witness to or heard about the fighting. Even Michelle Money may have doubted. So he waited. When Alan Fisher's visit to Raleigh was abruptly cancelled, Jason saw the opportunity and seized it. Clintwood, Virginia was chosen for his business meeting because it was out of state but geographically located to allow him to be in Brevard when he learned of the murder, just like the trip to Tennessee with a stopover in Brevard would have accomplished. The difference is that the Plan A would have been more believable than Plan B. If Plan A is true then...

Malice was formed prior to October 28, 2006.

* The phrase "lying in wait" could also apply, but that's a topic for another article.