Mom: Woman's Killer Shouldn't Raise Child

Custody suit filed against man who a civil court judge ruled killed his wife.

Dec. 10, 2008— -- The man a civil court judge found liable for the bludgeoning death of his wife should not be allowed to raise their young daughter, according to the dead woman's mother and sister.

Linda Fisher and Meredith Lynn Fisher -- the mother and sister of Michelle Young -- have filed suit in North Carolina seeking custody of Young's now 4-year-old daughter, Cassidy.

The two women claim in the suit to have "enjoyed a close and loving relationship with Cassidy since her birth" and detail how Linda Fisher, who lives in Sayville, N.Y., had visited her daughter monthly and bought a home in North Carolina to be close to her and help with raising her granddaughter and the baby boy Michelle Young was expecting when she was killed.

Among the reasons the suit alleged that Jason Young, Michelle's husband, should not have custody are the ruling that he "willfully and unlawfully killed" his wife, and that before her death he "engaged in a pattern of behavior that was degrading to Michelle, erratic and inappropriate."

Jason Young has never been charged with Michelle's murder, and according to Raleigh, N.C., ABC News station WTVD, has repeatedly proclaimed his innocence. Messages left with Roger Smith Jr. of Raleigh, Jason Young's attorney, were not returned and attempts to reach Jason Young or his family were unsuccessful.

A North Carolina civil court judge ruled last month that Young killed his 29-year-old wife, Michelle, in November 2006, even though no criminal charges have yet been filed in the slaying.

"Jason Lynn Young willfully and unlawfully killed Michelle Marie Fisher Young," Wake County Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens wrote in his ruling. He barred Young, 34, from receiving any life insurance money or assets from his wife's estate.

Young is still free and living in North Carolina with his young daughter.

The wrongful death lawsuit against him was brought by Linda Fisher in October, shortly before the two-year statute of limitations on such suits was to run out.

When Jason Young didn't respond to the civil suit, the judge granted a motion for a default judgment in Fisher's favor.

Paul Michaels, Fisher's lawyer in Raleigh, said they are hoping the civil court ruling will spur the criminal probe of the case. Young has not been named as a suspect.

"Something had to be done," Michaels told "The main reason this was done was Linda Fisher believed Jason killed Michelle."

At least one police investigator agrees.

Included as evidence in Fisher's lawsuit was an affidavit from Wake County Sheriff's Office criminal investigator R. C. Spivey III, a lead investigator in the case.

Spivey wrote in the affidavit: "I am familiar with other items of fact developed during this investigation that have not been placed in the public record to support a search warrant and, in my opinion, this evidence … indicates that Jason Young was the perpetrator."

When asked why no charges had been filed against Young despite a signed affidavit from the department's investigator naming him as the likely killer, Wake County Sheriff's Office public information director Phyllis Stephens had no comment.

"It's a continuing investigation for us," she said.

Wake County Assistant District Attorney Howard Cummings said that explaining why Young has not been charged would require revealing evidence that he's not allowed to comment on.

Cummings said Stephens' ruling would not further his office's investigation into Young because it was based largely on police statements, which the District Attorney's Office has already reviewed. He also declined to comment on when or whether charges in Michelle Young's murder would be forthcoming.

Michelle Young, described by friends and family as the quintessential American girl, was found beaten to death on the floor of her bedroom in her home outside Raleigh Nov. 3, 2006. Her daughter Cassidy, then 2, who police believe may have been drugged, was found in bed near her mother's body with clean feet despite child-size bloody footprints found elsewhere in the house.

Michelle Young was five months pregnant with the couple's child, a son to have been named Rylan.