Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Ward Weaver: Like Father, Like Son

In His Own Words

Sergeants Garry Davis and Glenn Johnson of the Kern County Sheriff's Department caught the assignment to drive to Folsom Prison to interview Weaver and, since they had helped dig up Barbara's body, they wouldn't have had it any other way. The interviews were conducted over three days: July 27-28 and August 2, 1982. Upon their arrival for each of the interviews Weaver, shackled hand and foot, was brought out of his cell and placed with the two investigators in a security squad office where they could speak privately. Although Weaver agreed to waive his Miranda rights, he asked if he could speak to his mother before speaking to Davis and Johnson. They agreed, but made him no offers nor made him any promises. They simply agreed to listen to what he had to say.

During the tape-recorded interviews, Weaver admitted that he had killed Robert Radford and Barbara Levoy, and that he had raped Barbara. He provided details, and drew a map of the secluded area outside Oroville where he had first buried Barbara. Later, Davis and Johnson followed the map and located an indentation in the earth where Weaver had indicated that he had buried her. They also found pieces of black electrical tape nearby. Weaver was, of course, eventually charged under various theories of rape and murder, and the case went to trial.

At trial, Weaver testified in his own defense. Among the things he claimed was that he had been hearing the voice of a female named Ladell since the age of 17. There was also a male voice, he claimed, of a competitive nature that he had heard beginning in 1968 while serving in Vietnam where, it was said, he took great pleasure in blowing up towns and villages — he was known for volunteering for such duty. He said that he had learned to trust the male voice, which apparently didn't have a name like the female voice, because it had forewarned him of danger in Vietnam and had consequently saved his life. He also claimed that, after the war, he began using amphetamines to keep him awake while driving his truck. He claimed to have been using amphetamines for 18 months at the time of the crimes involving Robert and Barbara, and had not slept for a week and a half at the time he killed them.

Weaver claimed that when he picked up the couple, he immediately found Barbara attractive and was sexually aroused by her. Right away the male voice inside his head began urging him to have sex with her while the female voice, Ladell, instructed him to leave her alone. The male voice told him to knock Robert out so that he could be alone with Barbara, and continued to urge him to rape her. The voice told him that he would not get into trouble for his actions. Because he had trusted the male voice due to the fact that it had helped him in the past, he decided that he would commit the rape.

"I just couldn't go against him," Weaver testified. "I just couldn't help it. Had to go along with what sounded like the most logical thing to do."

Despite eleven lacerations found on Robert's head, Weaver claimed that he had not intended to kill the young man. He only wanted to incapacitate him so that he could be alone with his girlfriend. He said that if he had wanted to kill Robert, he would have used the knife that he always carried in his truck. He claimed that a few years earlier he had assaulted someone with a similar piece of pipe and that person had not died.


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