Local News

Thursday, Feb 20 2014 01:20 PM

Grandson of notorious Kern County killer arrested on suspicion of murder

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    Ward Weaver Jr. in a photograph from the 1980s.

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    By Clackamas County (Ore.) Sheriff's photo via KGW.com

    Ward Weaver III in a 2002 photo.

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    By AP Photo/Greg Wahl-Stephens

    Two unidentified officials supervise inside the grounds of the former home of Ward Weaver III in Oregon City, Ore., in August 2002. FBI agents started searching the home of Weaver, a suspect in the case of two teen-age girls who vanished from a nearby Oregon City apartment complex. He was later convicted of the murder of both girls.

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    By AP Photo/Bob Ellis

    Ward Weaver III is escorted into an Oregon City, Ore. courtroom in September 2004. Weaver, 41 at the time, was accused of killing Ashley Pond and Miranda Gaddis, and then hiding their bodies on his property. He pleaded guilty to murder charges and received two life sentences in prison. By pleading guilty, Weaver avoided the death penalty in the deaths of the girls, classmates and friends who disappeared within two months of each other.

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    By AP Photo/Pool, Bob Ellis

    Michelle Duffey, center, with her older daughter Maryssa Gaddis, left, listens to the charges being read in an Oregon City, Ore. court in September 2004 against Ward Weaver III in the death of Duffey's daughter Miranda Gaddis. Weaver, accused of killing Miranda Gaddis and Ashley Pond and then hiding their bodies on his property, pleaded guilty to aggravated murder and was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences in prison.

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    By Mike Jenner

    Ruth McCarty of Swansea, Ill., holds a photo of her daughter, Barbara Levoy, who was kidnapped, raped and murdered in 1981 by Ward Francis Weaver Jr. A Kern County jury sentenced Weaver to death in 1984. He remains on death row.

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    By California Department of Corrections undated photo

    Ward Francis Weaver Jr. is on death row in California for two murders since 1984. Weaver's son, Ward Weaver III, was convicted in the murder of two 13-year-old girls who lived near him in Oregon City, Ore. and sentenced to life without parole.

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    The Weavers

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BY JASON KOTOWSKI Californian staff writer jkotowski@bakersfield.com

A history of violence going back generations in the family of death row inmate Ward Weaver Jr., one of Kern County’s most infamous killers, apparently has been passed on with the arrest Sunday in Oregon of Weaver’s step-grandson on suspicion of murder.

Francis Paul Weaver, 31, was arrested along with two other men in the fatal shooting of a Grants Pass, Ore. man, according to The Oregonian newspaper in Portland. Police say in reports obtained by The Oregonian that it appears Francis Weaver and the two other men allegedly planned to rob the victim of 15 pounds of marijuana. The robbery went bad and one of the suspects, 27-year-old Michael Arlan Orren, admitted to police he shot the victim twice in the head.

If Weaver’s involvement in the killing is true, it marks at least the fifth murder the Weaver family has been involved in since 1981.

Francis Weaver is the stepson of Ward Weaver III, who was sentenced in 2004 to two consecutive life terms in prison for killing two of his daughter's friends, ages 12 and 13, and hiding their bodies on his property in Oregon City, Ore.

Weaver III’s father, Ward Weaver Jr., was also convicted in 1982 of two murders.

“I just thought to myself, ‘Not again, not another one,’” said Bob Levoy, 59, brother of one of Ward Weaver Jr.’s victims.

He said this week’s news brings back memories of the murder of his sister, Barbara, in 1981. He was serving overseas in the U.S. Navy at the time she and her fiance were killed.

“I’m very disappointed that he hasn’t been executed yet,” Levoy said.

Weaver Jr. admitted to Kern County sheriff’s investigators in 1982 that more than a year earlier as a long-distance truck driver he stopped to help a couple with car trouble and killed them both. He said 23-year-old Barbara Levoy and 18-year-old Robert Radford were stranded along Highway 58 east of Tehachapi.

Weaver asked Radford to help him with something in the back of the truck. He then clubbed Radford to death with a metal bar, kidnapped Levoy and raped her, and took her to his home in Oroville where he tied her to a tree. He told investigators he planned to take her with him on his next trip.

But Levoy angered him when she bit his finger. He strangled her and buried her in his backyard.
Weaver tried to make a deal with prosecutors, saying he would lead them to 26 other victims, if they would waive the death penalty. They declined.

Ron Shumaker, the prosecutor in the case, said Thursday Ward Weaver Jr. was probably the most “bizarre” person he ever dealt with. And he said it’s likely Weaver Jr. is guilty of more murders than the two landing him on death row.

Shumaker said Weaver Jr.’s truck logs matched with about two dozen unsolved homicides up and down the west coast.

“Did he kill all those (people)?” said Shumaker. “Probably not all, but a good percentage I bet he did.”

The violence in the Weaver family didn’t begin with Ward Weaver Jr. His father, Ward Weaver Sr., sexually assaulted his mother, Dorothy, and women he brought home after Dorothy refused to have sex with him, according to a petition filed by appellate attorneys in Weaver Jr.’s case.

Dorothy took nerve pills and beat her children with belts. She told Weaver Jr. men should be castrated, and she forced him to sleep in her bed until he was 18, including on his wedding night.

The petitions say Weaver Sr. raped Weaver Jr.’s younger sister, and also molested two of Weaver Jr.’s daughters.

Weaver Jr. enlisted in the Army in 1967 and saw people he knew killed in battle. The petition says he witnessed Army friends take turns having sex with a Vietnamese girl with the permission of her father.

The sex stopped when the girl’s father slashed her throat.

 

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