Mistrial declared for Taylor Young

Friday, July 25, 2014

By Karen Hall and Ivory Riner

Staff Writers

At the end of an afternoon of deliberation Tuesday, a jury of four women and eight men said they were hopelessly deadlocked and unable to reach a verdict in the case of Jonathan Taylor Young, 23, so a mistrial was declared.

"I have never seen one of these," said Circuit Court Clerk Elinor Foster.

Young will be back in court on Friday, Aug. 8, for a decision on how to proceed with his case.

Young was charged with second-degree murder. The victim was James Hall, who died after being stabbed during an altercation at Northgate Arms Apartments on July 28, 2013.

When jurors retire to deliberate they are given a series of verdict forms, beginning with the original charge and going on to series of lesser charges. In this case the charge was second-degree murder, followed by voluntary manslaughter, and aggravated assault, and then a number of lesser charges.

Jurors decided Young was not guilty of the first three charges in connection with the death of Hall, but could not agree on which lesser charge was the appropriate one.

Represented by Ray Fraley Jr. of Fayetteville, when he is in court on Aug. 8, Young may plead guilty to one of the lesser charges, or request a new trial.

He cannot be re-tried on the charge of second-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter, or aggravated assault, because a jury has already found him not guilty of all of those, Foster explained.

In his closing argument Tuesday morning, Fraley used a PowerPoint presentation to clarify his points to the jury. He stated Young had the right to be at Northgate Arms Apartments because he was picking up his child for a family reunion. Fraley showed jurors the text messages between Young and the mother of the child. According to Fraley, Hall, the woman's boyfriend, yelled from the balcony to Young, "Come out back and we can settle this." The attorney noted three people testified they did not see a knife in Young's hand. Residents of the apartment complex all testified to seeing Hall hit Young and put him in a chokehold. As Young was being choked, the stabbing occurred. Fraley said all of the witnesses' testimonies matched, and Young to stabbed Hall in self defense.