Two women are dead, allegedly at the hands of their romantic partners. Both partners are currently on trial, and the cases were brought to my attention by Lovefraud readers. In the media accounts, I was struck by how these two cases illustrate a range of abusive behavior, from bumbling assault to possibly coldly calculated premeditated murder.
The first is the case of Yeardley Love, a University of Virginia lacrosse player who was found dead in her bed in the early hours of May 3, 2010. George Huguely V, also a lacrosse player, is charged in her murder.
The second case is that of Michelle Young, 29, of North Carolina. She was five months pregnant with her second child when she was found at home in a pool of blood on November 3, 2006. Her husband, Jason Young, is charged in the murder.
George Huguely V
George Huguely’s defense attorney, Fran Lawrence, admitted that Huguely played a role in the death of Yeardley Love. The trial is about determining whether Huguely intended to kill her, and the jury will begin deliberation on Wednesday.
ABC news reported the closing arguments in the trial:
“George played a role, but it’s overwhelmingly a tragedy,” Lawrence said, maintaining that there was no intent to kill. “He contributed to her death but he did not kill her. He left her there alive and that’s not up for dispute.”
He referred to Huguely as a “stupid drunk” and “boy athlete” who was not calculating or malicious. Lawrence said Huguely went to Love’s apartment to talk to her and to make up, not to kill her.
Still, the night of Love’s death, Huguely kicked in her bedroom door, left her in a pool of blood, and stole her laptop. But in a videotaped interview with police, he claimed he didn’t kill her. The interview was shown in court:
“I told her to chill out and I shook her a little bit,” he says during the interview. He then tells her that he wasn’t going to do anything to her.
Huguely then claimed that Love began to hit her head on the wall and he had told her to stop. Love was “freaking out. She kept banging her head against the wall, I was like … “stop!” he claimed.
He says that he never hit her, but then says that he took her by the arms and shoulders, but never strangled her.
“We were wrestling,” he told detectives. “I pushed her onto the bed and left.” He also said at one point that he held Love down on the floor to try to calm her down.
Of course, medical reports indicated that Love died of blunt force trauma to the head. Other testimony indicated that in February 2010, Huguely held Love in a chokehold, and later sent her a letter to apologize. And, when Love was with another man, he sent her an email that said, “I should have killed you.”
Huguely had a history of alcohol abuse, which is well documented. So while Huguely appears to be impulsive, violent and lying to justify what happened—does he really think people believe Love banged her own head against a wall?—he may not be cold, calculating and scheming. Not like the picture that emerged from the next case.
Michelle Young was found beaten to death in her home on November 3, 2006. Her then 2-year-old daughter, Cassidy, was also in the home, but unharmed. Although Jason Young was long suspected of the murder, he wasn’t arrested until December 2009. For background of the case, read:
Jason Young contended that he was out of town on business when the murder occurred. He never spoke to investigators. Prosecutors said he checked into a hotel in Virginia, drove 169 miles back to his home, beat his wife, drugged his daughter and then returned to Virginia to continue the business trip.
Although Jason Young admitted extramarital affairs, the case against him was circumstantial, and his trial ended in a hung jury in June of 2011. The prosecution is trying again to convict him. Read:
Second jury to hear Jason Young murder trial, on WRAL.com.
The trial was underway last week in Raleigh, North Carolina, and the local NBC station had a reporter who was live blogging from the courtroom. The testimony was riveting—and oh-so-familiar for people who understand the behavior of sociopaths.
Live blog: Michelle’s sorority sister details relationship with Jason Young. (To read in chronological order, scroll to the bottom of the blog entries.)
Genevieve Jacobs Cargol, who was once engaged to Jason Young, described how he had assaulted her.
“Something inside him snapped like I’ve never seen before,” she said. “He physically came after me to get the ring off of my finger…”
“He grabbed me by the arms and threw me onto the bed with such force that it stunned me. He grabbed my arm so tightly it left [marks] in shapes of his fingers.”
She said he pinned her and pulled on her arms so hard, “I felt my shoulders were going to pop out of my sockets.”
Michelle Money, who was Michelle Young’s sorority sister, described an affair with Jason Young.
Money and Jason had multiple conversations both before and after Michelle Young was killed. He spoke with her late on the night Michelle was murdered and again the next day.
Then there was the testimony of Ashley Palmatier, a day care worker who took care of Cassidy Young six days after the murder. The child had two dolls, and was using one doll to smash the “mommy doll.”
Palmatier said she was making the rounds at the day care, talking to the children, when she saw Cassidy had taken two dolls out of a bucket with about 10 dolls. One of the dolls was a female, with a brown pony tail, which she called “the mommy doll.” The other was an older woman doll with gray hair.
Cassidy, then 2, had the older woman doll in one hand with a small toy chair and was smashing the chair and older doll against the mommy doll.
“I had asked her the first time what she was doing. That’s when I noticed exactly what she was doing,” Palmatier testified.
“She began to say that mommy is getting a spanking for biting. And she also said that mommy has boo boos all over her.”
Jason Young admitted that he could be an “immature jerk,” and that he cheated on his wife. But he denied killing her.
The testimony from other women who were involved with Jason Young clearly shows that he exhibited sociopathic behavior. The murder of Michelle Young shows planning and premeditation. But will Jason Young be convicted? We’ll have to wait and see.