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UPDATE: Man convicted of second-degree murder
In 2011 shooting death
Friday, November 2, 2012
By DEBBIE HALL - Bulletin Staff Writer
A jury on Friday found Michael Alvin Young guilty of second-degree murder in the shooting death of Billy Ray Carter.
The jury of eight women and four men also convicted Young of use of a firearm in the commission of a murder and shooting in an occupied dwelling.
They recommended a sentence that totaled 16 years.
All of the charges and the recommended sentence were in connection with Carter’s March 31, 2011, death in an apartment at 912 Barrows Mill Road, Martinsville.
Carter, 48, died from a single gunshot wound to the head.
See Sunday's Bulletin for full coverage of this story.
Below is the article from Friday's Martinsville Bulletin:
Michael Young admitted in court Thursday that he shot Billy Ray Carter, but he said that was after he had been threatened multiple times and had his throat cut.
Carter, 48, had already cut Young’s throat when “he said he was going to cut my jugular vein,” Young testified Thursday.
His testimony came on the second day of his retrial in Martinsville Circuit Court on charges of murder, use of a firearm in the commission of a murder and shooting in an occupied dwelling in connection with Carter’s March 31, 2011, death in an apartment at 912 Barrows Mill Road, Martinsville.
Young testified that Carter, who had stayed part-time in a tent behind the Barrows Mill Road duplex, also stayed part-time in Jackie Ballard’s apartment — a man Young said he had known for years — and/or Carter’s girlfriend’s apartment next door to Ballard.
After recently arriving back in Martinsville from Duke University Hospital, where he was diagnosed with cancer that he understood was terminal, Young said he, Carter, Ballard and others got together in Ballard’s apartment on March 29. Some of the men played guitars and drank heavily, according to testimony.
In the early morning hours of March 30, Young said he went to his home, just up the street from Ballard’s apartment, where he went to sleep.
Hours later, Young said he was awakened by Tiny, a dog he said he inherited from his mother. Young said he hurriedly dressed in clothes he already had worn and went outside with the dog.
When he heard a storm door on his house flapping in the wind, he remembered that he hid his pistol in a crawl space while gone to the hospital, Young testified. He said his mother and father gave him the weapon years ago as a birthday/Christmas gift.
After retrieving the gun, he realized Tiny had left the yard and had gone several houses away, Young testified. He went to get the dog, and afterwards, decided to return to Ballard’s apartment to socialize and drink.
Young said he slid the gun under a mattress in the front room of Ballard’s apartment, according to testimony.
Later that night, Young said Carter came up behind him, grabbed his hair and pulled his head back.
“I felt something on my throat,” Young testified. Carter said something to the effect of “Should I do it? Do you think I’ll do it?”
“I thought it was some kind of joke ... I was laughing,” Young said.
Then, he said he felt something “stinging” as it went across his throat. That was followed by “something warm” that Young said he realized was blood. “I didn’t know what to feel ... I didn’t know what to do,” he testified.
Young said he got up from that chair and moved to another chair that was closer to the bed.
He said he asked Carter “what is this about,” but Carter did not reply. Instead, he returned from the kitchen with a large knife that Carter put on Young’s lap, he said.
“I just looked at it laying there,” Young said. Carter “walked over and tried to put it in my hand,” but Young said he held on to the chair arms and “I wouldn’t take the knife.”
Carter then held the knife he had used to cut Young’s throat to the left side of Young’s neck, first threatening to cut his jugular vein and then his stomach, Young said.
If Young was able to control the bleeding of his jugular vein, he testified that he was told “I’ll put you in the floor,” pull a knife “across your stomach and lay your guts in the floor.”
Carter also said that once he had started a job, “he would finish a job,” Young said. Carter “said he wanted me to go home and pass out” with plans to “slit my throat while I was sleeping,” Young said of the threats that were made while Carter held a knife to the left side of his neck.
Carter cut Young the one time, and Young later went to the hospital for treatment and stitches, according to testimony.
After leaving the hospital, Young said he picked up beer and cigarettes and decided to go back to Ballard’s apartment to try and make peace with Carter.
When he arrived there on March 31, Carter was in another room. Young said he went in that room to talk and work things out, including who was responsible for his hospital bill.
Carter said “I didn’t have to worry about” paying the bill, Young said. “He said I wasn’t going to be around to worry about it.”
Young eventually left the apartment and went to a grassy area in the opposite direction of his home, where he drank a beer and smoked a cigarette. He then returned to Ballard’s “to get my stuff and see if I could make peace with Billy,” he said.
Carter was in the yard, and moved toward Young as Young walked into the yard and toward the apartment, Young said. Carter kept “looking down” and Young said he saw a knife in Carter’s hand when he looked in the same downward direction.
Young entered the apartment, and Carter followed him inside, he said. Young got his gun from under the mattress and held it in his hands on his chest, he said.
Carter then said “something about we’re going to go again,” Young said.
He then held the gun out in his right hand, “hoping he (Carter) would let me out of there,” Young said. “I had no intention of hurting him.”
But when Carter said something “about ending it” and lunged at Young, “I panicked. I heard the gun go off,” Young said. “The next thing I remember, I was running in the grass.”
Defense attorney Larry Gott asked Young if he shot Carter, and Young said he did.
Young’s first trial on the charges last year was declared a mistrial following Young’s outburst as Martinsville Circuit Court Judge Carter Greer prepared to give the case to the jury.
The retrial is expected to go to the jury today.