Weimer murder case heading to jury
PAINESVILLE, Nov 18, 2012 (Star Beacon - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
The fate of accused murderer Zachary Weimer will be in the jury's hands by Monday afternoon, as both the prosecution and the defense rested their cases Friday in Lake County Common Pleas court.
This week, the prosecution called more than 25 witnesses to the stand for testimony before resting. Lake County assistant public defender James Mathews declined to call any witnesses.
The jury will hear closing arguments from both on Monday, Judge Vincent Culotta said.
Weimer faces 17 charges, including aggravated murder, burglary and receiving stolen property. He is accused of stabbing 77-year-old Eleanor Robertson 94 times before dousing her body with chemicals and robbing the house of valuables on June 13.
Weimer's mother, Danna Weimer, was convicted of 17 identical charges last month in Lake County Common Pleas Court. She will be sentenced by Judge Eugene Lucci on Dec. 12.
On Friday, the jury saw video surveillance footage, taken from the elaborate home security system at Danna Weimer's Austinburg Township home, which showed mother and son coming and going -- Zachary in Robertson's mini van -- and loading dozens of bags of stolen items into Danna Weimer's vehicle. The video also shows Zachary Weimer burning bags and boxes of items in the backyard of the Sexton Road residence.
Madison Township Police Det. Tim Doyle's testimony included video of Zachary's Weimer's initial interrogation in the case.
Head down and looking gaunt in his orange prison jumpsuit, Zachary Weimer acknowledged the "track marks" on his arms and discussed heroin withdrawl symptoms with the detectives.
When asked how he came into possession of Robertson's valuables, located in his mother's car, Zachary Weimer told the detectives he was not responsible for, nor aware of, the circumstances surrounding the items.
"I was helping my mom get rid of (the items)," he told the detectives. "It's not my vehicle, so I don't know what to say."
Throughout the trial, Mathews hung his questioning on the lack of blood both at the scene and retained in Robertson's body, noting repeatedly the state's lack of DNA evidence and fingerprint evidence against Zachary Weimer.
While expert witnesses testified Thursday that shoe prints found at the scene exactly match Zachary Weimer's shoe size, tread, and wear pattern, and one of his fingerprints was found on a piece of Robertson's property, no blood or fingerprints matching Weimer's were found in Robertson's home or vehicle.
Stephen LaBonne, the DNA technical manager for the Lake County Crime Lab, said the lack of DNA found at the scene does not indicate innocence or guilt.
"Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence," he said. "DNA can be left in many forms -- blood, saliva, semen; or through touch DNA, such as skin cells. If we can recover that evidence, we can put a person in a certain place or in contact with a certain object. But lack of that evidence does not mean the person wasn't there."
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