By Dave Andrusko
Editor’s note. My family and I will be on vacation through September 6. I will occasionally add new items but for the most part we will repost “the best of the best” — the stories our readers have told us they especially liked over the last five months. This first ran June 28.
Last week a Zanesville, Ohio, jury convicted Emile Weaver of “aggravated murder, gross abuse of a corpse, and two counts of tampering with evidence for placing her newborn baby girl in a plastic trash bag on April 22, 2015, suffocating her,” according to the Columbia Dispatch’s Jennifer Smola. The jury took less than an hour to reach its verdict.
On Monday Muskingum County Common Pleas Judge Mark Fleegle sentenced the 21-year-old Weaver to life in prison without parole.
Smola reported that Judge Fleegle was unpersuaded by Weaver’s letter sent in advance of her sentencing in which she apologized.
Smola initially told investigators she didn’t know she was pregnant until she had her baby on the toilet at the Delta Gamma Theta sorority house where she was a member. However when she testified last Friday, she told a different story.
She admitted knowing she was pregnant after returning to campus from winter break in early 2015. But she said she continued to deny it to those who asked, and even to herself.
“I said ‘no’ so many times that in my mind, none of this was happening,” said Weaver, 21.
Prosecutors argued that Weaver never intended to keep little Addison Grace Weaver, whom she named after the baby’s body was released to her family for burial following an autopsy.
In choosing not to include eligibility for parole as early as 20 years, Judge Fleegle said he “remained unconvinced that Weaver felt any true remorse,” Smola wrote. The judge
referred to evidence shown during trial, including text messages from Weaver sent to the man she thought was the baby’s father (DNA tests would later show he wasn’t): “No more baby,” Weaver’s text read, followed by “taken care of.”
According to Smola the full text exchange went as follows:
“No more baby,” Weaver’s text read.
“What,” he replied.
“No more baby,” she texted again.
“How do you know?” he asked.
“Taken care of,” she replied
The words “I” and “my” appeared a total of 20 times in the four -paragraph letter, Judge Fleegle pointed out.
“Once again, it’s all about you,” he told Weaver.