Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Ward Weaver: Like Father, Like Son

Ward Francis Weaver, Jr.

Ward Weaver Jr., Older
Ward Weaver Jr., Older

When the issue surrounding Weaver's dad, Ward Francis Weaver, Jr., being housed on California's death row began to surface, a frightened and concerned community naturally wanted to know more about the man on death row. According to the details that emerged, mostly from Kern County (California) Superior Court documents, the public learned that Ward Weaver III's father had been convicted in 1984 of the first-degree murders of Robert Radford, 18, and his girlfriend, Barbara Levoy, 23, and had been sentenced to death by a jury.

According to the facts of the Weaver Jr. case, Robert Radford was a member of the United States Air Force and had been assigned to a base in Colorado for training. It was there that he had met Barbara Levoy. Following Robert's training, the couple traveled to his hometown of Edmonds, Washington, so that Barbara could meet his parents, and afterwards drove to Pinedale, California, near Fresno, to see his grandmother. Their final destination was to have been Las Vegas, Nevada, where Robert had been assigned a tour of duty at Nellis Air Force Base. Barbara, on the other hand, was to have flown home to Colorado while Robert served his country on the outskirts of Sin City.

Map with Tehachapi, CA Locator
Map with Tehachapi, CA Locator

The young couple arrived in Pinedale on the afternoon of February 5, 1981, according to plan. After visiting with Robert's grandmother for a few hours, they left early that evening, around 7 p.m., to begin the approximate six-hour drive to Las Vegas. However, they didn't make it to Vegas — their car broke down about one mile east of Tehachapi, California, approximately 160 miles from Pinedale. It was dark by that time and they were on a lonely stretch of state Highway 58 between Bakersfield and Barstow, practically in the middle of the Mojave Desert. Stranded at the side of the road with his car's emergency flashers turned on, Robert and Barbara waited, hoping that a passing motorist would offer them some assistance.

At one point, a person traveling in the opposite direction, heading back toward Tehachapi, stopped and offered to help them. However, because the motorist was not going toward their destination, Robert declined his help. As the man drove away, Robert and Barbara had no idea that they had just made a drastic mistake by turning down the man's offer to assist them — a mistake that would cost them their lives.


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