Murder on Birchleaf Drive: The True Story of the Michelle Young Murder Case by Steven B. Epstein
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I didn't forget to post this week! This is my most recent read a true crime novel.
A friend of mine-who had a link to the case-recommended this book to me. My friend lived in the same North Carolina neighborhood as Jason Young, the accused in this story. Jason's mom was a beloved fifth grade teacher, although my friend chose not to have her sons in her class - that has nothing to do with the murder, though. It was long before that. So that was my link to this book.
I've really been on a true crime kick lately. I had never heard of this author, so I was skeptical. Ann Rule is my "standard" for true crime. I believe I had heard about the case, but I wasn't super familiar with it, either. I remember hearing that a man killed his pregnant wife and their daughter walked around in her blood.
The book explores the backgrounds of Jason and Michelle so the reader has context. The author was very unbiased, playing out both the prosecutor's case and the defense's response. It is so detailed that about 3/4 of the way through, it becomes a dry read; however, it's difficult to put down in spite of that because the case is so intriguing.
Jason Young had some strange habits, not to mention several extra-marital affairs, in the three years leading up to the murder. He and Michelle fought often, and often publicly. On a night when he was headed out of town on business, Michelle was murdered in her bedroom. When Michelle's sister showed up the next day, she found their 2 year old daughter perfectly clean and sleeping in her parents' bed. (Side note - the sister described the little girl as "shockingly clean" and the author overused this description.) Although there was no blood on the little girl when her aunt found her, her bloody footprints were found all over the scene. Michelle, who was five months pregnant with their son, had been bludgeoned to death. Jason Young, although he was several hours away, was the prime suspect.
I don't want to give any more of the case away. I went into the book without knowing much about the murder or the case which may be one reason why I liked reading it. If you like true crime, you will likely find it interesting, too.
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