Martinsville Bulletin, Inc.
P. O. Box 3711
204 Broad Street
Martinsville, Virginia 24115
Toll Free: 800-234-6575
Retrial begins in Young shooting case
Man accused in shooting death
Thursday, November 1, 2012
By DEBBIE HALL - Bulletin Staff Writer
The retrial of Michael Young, who is charged with shooting to death a man who had cut Young’s throat hours earlier, got underway on Wednesday.
Young, who is accused of shooting Billy Ray Carter, 48, to death on March 31, 2011, during an incident in an apartment at 912 Barrows Mill Road, also is charged with use of a firearm in the commission of a murder and shooting in an occupied dwelling in connection with the incident.
Carter had cut Young’s throat several hours before the shooting, according to testimony Wednesday and in Young’s first trial last year.
A mistrial was declared in that proceeding following Young’s outburst as Martinsville Circuit Court Judge Carter Greer prepared to give the case to the jury.
Dressed in a camel-colored jacket, black trousers, tie and a white shirt, Young sat quietly with defense attorney Larry Gott as his retrial began Wednesday.
He seemed attentive, and conferred with Gott multiple times as prosecutors called several witnesses, including Paul Benson, a medical examiner and an expert in the field of forensic pathology. The jury consisted of six men and eight women.
After introducing into evidence photographs that were taken during Carter’s autopsy, Martinsville Deputy Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Don Goodman asked Benson to explain the scenes in the photos.
One of the photos — a close-up of Carter’s face and the left side of his head — showed that a shot entered the left side of Carter’s head, just above his left ear, Benson testified.
Benson estimated the muzzle of the weapon was “several inches to a foot or two” from Carter when it was fired.
The bullet was found near the back of Carter’s right ear, he said, and added that Carter died from the gunshot wound to the head.
Other areas of Carter’s body showed signs of “blunt force impact type injuries,” Benson said. He described photographs that detailed an abrasion or scrape to Carter’s right wrist, a bruise on his left knee and an injury to the back of one of Carter’s thighs.
Toxicology tests showed that Carter had a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .30 to .36, Benson said. Tests also showed Carter had stopped drinking, the medical examiner said.
When cross examined by Gott, Benson said the lethal or toxic limit of BAC is .4 in someone who has a low alcohol tolerance.
Several Martinsville Police officers who responded to the shooting incident testified that Young said “he was the one we were looking for, and it didn’t matter that he was going to jail because he had terminal cancer,” according to Officer Mark Peters.
Young was placed in the back of Officer Doug Graham’s patrol car, which is equipped with an audio and video recorder. Only the audio was played in court.
A voice identified as Young’s was heard saying, “I’m going away for life, but it don’t matter,” and that he did not want “to get cut or beat on” anymore. (He) “cut my throat ... Don’t need much more provocation ... Ain’t much sorry (a)bout it though.”