Judge dismisses motion to strike evidence in trial of Virginia dad accused of putting dead son in freezer

Posted at 1:13 PM, Jul 12, 2023

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- The prosecution has rested its case in the trial of a Chesterfield man accused of killing his youngest son and hiding his body in a freezer for several years. The judge dismissed a defense motion Wednesday afternoon to strike the evidence presented in the case.

As a result, the defense said they would call at least one witness, a different medical examiner, when the trial resumes Thursday. They have not decided whether Kassceen "Kass" Weaver will take the stand in his own defense.

Weaver, a former University of Richmond basketball player, faces felony murder, felony child neglect, and concealing a dead body charges in relation to the death of his son, Eliel Adon Weaver, 3.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This article contains graphic details about the death of a child. Reader discretion is advised.

The prosecution rested after calling nine witnesses Tuesday (no witnesses were called Monday), including the boy's mother and now estranged wife of Kassceen.

She described the day her son passed out from crying, eventually died, and her going along with her husband's plan to hide the body in a bin rather than take him to the hospital as he feared their other son would be taken away because of Adon's bruises from corporal punishment.

There was also testimony from medical examiners who said Adon died from multiple blunt force traumas and had fractures to his skull, ribs, and right elbow. However, they did not say what caused the trauma and said other causes of could not be ruled out because the advanced state of decomposition of Adon's body did not allow those tests to occur.

You can read CBS 6's complete coverage of day two of the trial here and day one of the trial here.

Motion to Strike

Following the prosecution resting, Kassceen's defense team then made a motion to strike all the evidence against their client.

Attorney Doug Ramseur said prosecutors alleged that Kassceen was responsible for Adon's death because he was in some sort of distress (crying, vomiting, then passing out) that led to his death and Kassceen failed to get him proper medical attention. He added they are not saying Kassceen caused the injuries, but permitted them by not seeking that help.

On the murder charge, he argued they did not prove the malice necessary for the felony murder charge. He gave an analogy of a parent pushing their child into a pool who could not swim and not rescuing them was culpable. But, if the child fell in through no fault of the parent and they did nothing to help them, they could be convicted of abuse, but not murder and argued the latter case

Ramseur said Adon suffered some sort of medical episode that led to his death, but no answers were provided in evidence as to what that was or that Kassceen was the cause of it. He argued that a death must be a part of the felony, not just be near it in time.

Ramseur added while the medical examiner ruled blunt force trauma as the cause of death, he could not rule out other causes of death. He said even if blunt force trauma was the cause, there was no evidence Adon suffered because Kassceen did not seek medical attention.

The defense has also focused on the rib fractures suffered by Adon and said they could have been caused by the chest compressions he received in both crying spells. Ramseur said it could become a circular argument if they say Kassceen was responsible for his death by not rendering aid, but rendering aid could have been the cause.

He added Adon's mother testified Kassceen told her on the phone he provided chest compressions during the second spell before she arrived home, but there was no direct evidence of that and the mother testified to giving compressions herself both times. Ramseur said even if both of them gave compressions, who was responsible for the fatal injury?

Ramseur said the medical examiner did not know anything about the chest compressions when he made his ruling on the cause of death and he defaulted to blunt force trauma and that is not sufficient to hold Kassceen responsible.

Ramseur added there has been no evidence presented as to who or what caused the skull or elbow fractures or that Kassceen, as the primary caregiver of Adon, should have known about those injuries in a nonverbal child to get aid for. He mentioned the mother's testimony of Kassceen kicking Adon one time, but no link was made for that action causing Adon's death.

Additionally, Ramseur said there was no evidence presented that Adon would have survived that night he died had Kassceen taken him to seek outside medical attention and without that, it does not show Kassceen failed to act. He added Kassceen called his wife who he saw as a medical professional (she is a pharmacist) and who rendered aid during the first crying spell and revived Adon.

Ramseur said they do not even know when Adon actually died and the mother testified to hearing air come out of him, but admitted it could have been back breath from the CPR she was performing.

On the concealment charge, Ramseur argued the prosecution has to show malicious intent to prevent the detection of a crime, but they did not show that with Kassceen. He said the mother testified they had talked about burying the body at a home they intended to buy. Judge Edward Robbins, Jr. interjected that he thought she attributed that idea to Kassceen, which the defense agreed.

On the testimony by the mother that Kassceen refused to take Adon to the hospital, it was not to hide alleged crimes against them, but because the bruising on Adon from corporal punishment could lead to their other son being taken away.

He added no evidence was presented that either parent thought the death was unlawful and said that not going to seek outside medical attention was in line with their previous history of not taking Adon to a doctor or to get vaccinated.

In the prosecution's response, Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Joshua Loren said there is no controversy that the mother wanted to take Adon to the hospital and Kassceen's refusal showed a guilty conscience.

He added the fact the body was placed in a vacuum-sealed bag with cedar wood chips was an attempt to hide the smell. Loren added she testified the two had discussed the criminality of not reporting the death.

Loren said on the day Adon died, it took the mother 30-40 minutes to get back from work and Kassceen never took Adon to a nearby hospital or first responder station and it was a conscience of guilt that he did not.

The judge asked about the testimony of the mother saying Kassceen told her on the phone as she headed home that Kassceen had performed CPR and the child was now OK (the mother said Adon was unresponsive when she got home) and Loren said there was no reason to believe that Kassceen was actually telling the truth at that time.

On the final argument from the defense, Ramseur said the mother's testimony did not implicate Kassceen of wrongdoing and there was no evidence Kassceen caused any injury.

He added the mother's comments about the criminality after Adon's death was in reference to continuing to keep his body, not that the death was unlawful.

The judge rendered his decision to deny the motion roughly four hours after the arguments were made as he said he wanted to read the case law that each side had submitted.

The judge did not elaborate on his decision.

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