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Ward Francis WEAVER III

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 
 
 
Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Serial rapist - Child molester
Number of victims: 2
Date of murders: January 9/March 8, 2002
Date of arrest: August 13, 2002
Date of birth: April 6, 1963
Victims profile: Ashley Marie Pond, 12 / Miranda Diane Gaddis, 13
Method of murder: ???
Location: Oregon City, Oregon, USA
Status: Sentenced to four terms of life in prison without parole as a result of the plea bargain agreement on September 22, 2004
 
 

 
 

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Ward Francis Weaver III (born April 6, 1963) is a convicted felon. He is serving a life sentence without possibility of parole for sexual assault, rape, attempted murder, and the murders of Ashley Pond and Miranda Gaddis in Oregon City, Oregon.

Early life and prior marriages

In 1967, Ward Weaver's father abandoned the family. A few years later, Weaver's mother, Trish, married Bob Budrow, an abusive alcoholic.

Weaver first exhibited antisocial behavior as a teenager;his sister, Tammi, later said that he physically and sexually abused at least one family member by the time he was 12. In 1981, a teenaged relative reported that he had repeatedly raped and beat her. Police investigated allegations of abuse in 1981, but Multnomah County prosecutors decided not to pursue charges, because Weaver had enlisted in the armed services and would be leaving Portland.

In 1981, Weaver joined the US Navy Reserve. He was discharged on May 17, 1982, for heavy drinking and dereliction of duty. While in the Navy, he met his future wife, Maria Stout. The couple moved in with Weaver's parents, and she was soon pregnant. Weaver attacked her and put her in the hospital when she was five months pregnant, but she refused to press charges. She eventually bore him a son, followed by a daughter seven years later.

At about this time of his son's birth, Weaver's father was convicted of murder and sentenced to death.

Some time later, Weaver and his wife moved in with the Ordanas family. One night, an intoxicated Weaver attacked 15-year-old Jennifer Ordanas with a concrete block. She escaped, and Weaver was sentenced to three years in prison for assault.

In 1993, Maria Weaver filed a restraining order against her husband, and their marriage ended in divorce. In July 1995, Weaver beat his new girlfriend, Kristi Sloan, with a cast-iron skillet. He was jailed for the incident, but Sloan refused to testify against him. By October they were back together and, in February 1996, they married. The marriage lasted four years.

Murders of Ashley Pond and Miranda Gaddis

In August 1997, Weaver began an affair with a woman he met at work. They eventually moved into his rental house on South Beavercreek Road in Oregon City. Weaver's 12-year-old daughter became friends with Ashley Marie Pond (born March 1, 1989) and Miranda Diane Gaddis (born November 18, 1988.)

In August 2001, Ashley accused Weaver of attempting to rape her, but the police didn't investigate. On January 9, 2002, Ashley disappeared on her way to school. Friends and family, including Miranda, began to search for her.

Two months later, on March 8, Miranda vanished. Neither girl was ever seen alive again. After the girls vanished, Weaver (with the help of his son), dug a hole in his yard and covered it with cement; Weaver told his son it was a pad for a hot tub.

On August 13, Weaver was arrested for raping his son's 19-year-old girlfriend. Upon calling 9-1-1, Weaver's son told emergency dispatchers that his father admitted killing Ashley and Miranda. On the weekend of August 24-25, FBI agents found the remains of Ashley Pond beneath the concrete slab in his backyard. The next day they found the remains of Miranda Gaddis in a bag in the storage shed.

News coverage

Portland Tribune reporter Jim Redden got two tips early on – one from Linda O'Neal, a private investigator and a relative of Pond – which prompted him to interview Weaver. Weaver told Redden that he was the FBI's prime suspect, at a time when it was generally believed there was no such suspect.

KATU television news reporter Anna Song conducted an interview with Weaver prior to his arrest. During the interview, Weaver stood on top of the concrete slab where one of the bodies was buried.

O'Neal went on to write a book about the case. The book was somewhat fictionalized, featuring composite characters and reconstructed conversations. O'Neal contended that the substance of the book was accurate, but the FBI criticized the book, and took exception to O'Neal's characterization of how the case was solved.

Aftermath

On October 2, 2002, Weaver was indicted and charged with: six counts of aggravated murder; two counts of abuse of a corpse in the second degree; one count of sexual abuse in the first degree; one count of attempted rape in the second degree; one count of attempted aggravated murder; one count of first degree attempted rape; one count of sexual abuse in the first degree; one count of sexual abuse in the second degree; and two counts of sexual abuse in the third degree.

In September 2004, Weaver pleaded guilty to two charges and no-contest to the rest. A plea bargain allowed him to avoid the death penalty. He was sentenced to two life sentences without parole.

In 2002, then-Governor John Kitzhaber launched a multi-agency investigation, into the handling of the first report of Weaver's abuse of Pond.

On March 4, 2007, Weaver was walking to the barber shop at the Snake River Correctional Institution for a hair cut, when the barber revealed a makeshift knife and attacked him, causing neck and shoulder injuries. He was treated at the prison. The barber was placed in the disciplinary unit.

Wikipedia.org


Guilty plea came after trial looked inevitable

Weaver admitted to killing girls as judge refused to change venue

By Jim Redden - The Portland Tribune

Sep. 24, 2004

Ward Weaver didn’t offer to plead guilty to murdering Ashley Pond and Miranda Gaddis until after the judge in the case refused to move his trial to a different county.

In a surprise move, Weaver pleaded guilty to the murders Wednesday. Clackamas County District Judge Robert Herndon sentenced him to four terms of life in prison without parole as a result of the plea bargain agreement.

After the hearing, Weaver’s attorney Michael Barker told reporters that his client changed his plea to guilty after receiving a letter from his 15-year-old daughter, Mallori, saying, “Daddy, make it stop.”

Barker reportedly said Weaver received the letter two or three weeks ago. But prosecutor Greg Horner, Clackamas County’s chief deputy district attorney, said Weaver didn’t offer to plead guilty until Sept. 17, the day after Herndon declined to move the trial.

Herndon held a hearing Sept. 15 on Weaver’s request to move the trial. Weaver’s attorneys argued that he could not receive a fair trial in Clackamas County. They presented a public opinion survey that showed the majority of potential jurors believe Weaver killed Ashley and Miranda. But Herndon refused to move the trial and said he would begin calling potential jurors to the courthouse on Jan. 24.

Herndon issued his ruling Sept. 16. According to Horner, Weaver’s attorneys first approached his office with the change of plea offer the next day.

“The first contact we had from them was on the 17th,” said Horner, who would not disclose any details of the discussions.

Weaver did not originally offer to take responsibility for all his crimes, however, according to Terri Hyne, the sister of Miranda’s mother, Michelle Duffey. Instead, Hyne said, Weaver wanted prosecutors to dismiss charges of sexual abuse of a young girl and the rape and attempted murder of his son’s girlfriend.

“The DA’s office originally told us he was willing to plead guilty to the murders, but that he didn’t want anything to happen with the other charges. The DA’s office said they rejected that offer because they wanted Weaver to be held responsible for everything he did,” Hyne said.

In the end, Weaver pleaded no contest to the sexual assault, rape and attempted murder charges.

The Tribune was unable to reach Barker and Weaver’s other attorney, Peter Fahy, by press time. The Tribune has been unable to reach Duffey or Ashley’s mother, Lori Pond, for comment.

Weaver emphasized the impression that he was pleading guilty out of concern for his daughter. He held a small picture of her in his hands as he stood slumped and handcuffed in court.

Behavior changes

Weaver’s demeanor was markedly different when he first described himself to the Tribune on June 30, 2002, as the FBI’s prime suspect in the disappearance of the two Oregon City girls. That was more than six months after Ashley, 12, vanished from an apartment complex near Weaver’s rented house. Miranda, 13, disappeared from the same complex exactly two months later.

By the time he talked to the Tribune, Ashley was dead, her body buried in a barrel under a concrete slab behind his house. Miranda, whose body eventually would be found in a cardboard box in a small storage shed in Weaver’s back yard, also had been killed by then.

But on that Sunday morning, Weaver played the role of the wrongly accused suspect to the hilt. Sitting on a black couch in his small rented home, Weaver forcefully denied knowing where the girls were, though he said he understood why the FBI thought he had something to do with their disappearances.

Without prompting, Weaver said Ashley had accused him of sexually molesting her several months before she vanished. Miranda, he said, frequently stopped by his home to visit with Mallori. Weaver also talked openly about his father being a convicted serial killer and his own criminal record.

Weaver insisted he had nothing to hide and did not mind being investigated. He was only upset, he said, that the FBI was trying to interview his four children without his permission.

Weaver offered to answer future questions and wrote down his home and cell phone numbers before the end of the interview.

He continued to deny any involvement in the disappearances when the story was picked up by other media outlets. During a KATU (2) interview, he walked across the concrete pad above where Ashley’s body eventually was found buried. He denounced Ashley’s mother as an irresponsible parent on the “Good Morning America” show. And he allowed “Inside Edition” to film him smoking a cigarette in a sleeveless white shirt and jet black sunglasses.

Prosecutor had confidence

Even after the bodies were found at his house and he was charged with murder, Weaver continued to vigorously defend himself.

During a series of jailhouse interviews, he offered reporters documents that, he said, proved prosecutors had no direct evidence linking him to the murders. Instead, Weaver said, the police were withholding evidence that proved the girls had actually been killed by a shadowy network of drug dealers and outlaw bikers.

Some of the documents revealed potential problems in the case against Weaver. The autopsies on the girls’ bodies had been unable to determine where, when or how they had died. Prosecutor Horner said the murder case against Weaver was circumstantial, although he was confident a jury would have found him guilty of killing both girls.

Gag order ends interviews

But Weaver seemed to lose confidence as time went on. Herndon imposed a gag order on the case after Weaver’s jailhouse interviews were broadcast. Shortly after that, Weaver’s attorneys said they wanted off the case, complaining that he was no longer communicating with them.

After Herndon turned down the request, the lawyers filed a motion saying Weaver was mentally unfit to stand trial. Weaver sat quietly with his head down throughout the April 21 hearing on his condition. When it was over, Herndon sent him to the Oregon State Hospital for evaluation.

After the evaluation was completed, the lawyers withdrew their motion. But Weaver still appeared drained at the Aug. 25 hearing where they announced he had “regained” the ability to defend himself.

Weaver did not even attend the change of venue hearing.


Oregon child killer Ward Weaver stabbed during haircut

The Associated Press - May 08, 2007

ONTARIO -- Convicted child killer Ward Weaver survived a stabbing by an inmate barber at the Snake River Correctional Institution, authorities said.

Weaver, 44, is serving two life sentences at the Eastern Oregon prison. He pleaded guilty in 2004 to killing two Oregon City girls whose bodies were found in 2002 at his home -- one under a concrete slab and the other in a bag in a storage shed.

The barber, Marvin Lee Taylor, 44, was charged with assault, possession of a weapon and supplying contraband.

Taylor stabbed Weaver on March 4 with a homemade shank, or knifelike weapon, "during the course of giving Weaver a haircut at the prison," said Malheur County District Attorney Dan Norris.

"We're not sure of the motive," Norris said Monday. "But it does demonstrate the difficulty the Department of Corrections has with dealing with infamous inmates such as Mr. Weaver."

It was the first incident involving Weaver since he arrived in June 2005, said Amber Campbell, prison spokeswoman.

He was treated at the prison for neck and shoulder wounds, she said.

Weaver and Taylor were the only two inmates in a day room of the administrative segregation unit where both were housed, Campbell said.

A guard stopped the attack, she said.

The 45 inmates in the administrative segregation unit require protection from the rest of the prisoners, Campbell said. Reasons for segregation can involve an inmate's criminal history or incidents with other inmates, she said.

Inmate barbers are not permitted scissors, so they use electric razors instead, she said.

After the attack, Taylor was held in a separate, disciplinary segregation unit. He is to enter a plea May 21.
 

 

 
 
 
 
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