Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Ward Weaver: Like Father, Like Son

Weaver Talks to the Media — Again

In an apparent attempt at proclaiming his innocence, Weaver provided copies of the autopsy reports to a reporter for Portland television station KPTV, according to the Portland Tribune, during a jailhouse interview on October 29, 2002. He claimed that the autopsy reports would help contradict previous media information that had caused him to appear guilty.

Ward Weaver III
Ward Weaver III

"I was publicly tried and convicted before I was indicted," Weaver told the television reporter. His argument was that the district attorney's office would be unable to prove his guilt because they had not been able to determine how the girls had died. "They've indicted me for stuff they have no evidence on. Zero. Yes, there were two bodies in my back yard, but that's all there is."

Even though a cause of death hadn't been determined, Weaver's argument had plenty of holes in it. There was ample circumstantial evidence that prosecutors could use to convict Weaver. For example, Weaver knew both girls and their families, Ashley had accused him of molesting her approximately six months before she disappeared, and he had a prior criminal record for the physical assault of a young female in another state. But the most damning of all was the fact that both Ashley's and Miranda's bodies had been found in his backyard. There was also the fact that Weaver's daughter had earlier told her school guidance counselor, back in March shortly after Miranda had disappeared, that she was unable to attend a memorial service for Ashley and Miranda because she had to help her father dig a hole in their backyard where he had planned to install a hot tub. The cops had also found two small plastic bags containing human hair, handcuffs, rope and cord in the drawer of a nightstand that Weaver had moved to a storage unit off of his property. The fact that Weaver's father was on California's death row for similar circumstances didn't help him any, either.

Clackamas County Courthouse
Clackamas County Courthouse

When Clackamas County Circuit Judge Robert Herndon, who was hearing the case in its early stages, heard about Weaver's contacts with the media, he immediately placed a gag order on Weaver and everyone else associated with the case. The judge believed that a gag order was needed to guarantee that Weaver received a fair trial.

However, in what some considered an act of defiance over the gag order, Weaver again called a reporter at KPTV to complain about it.

"He can't keep me from saying what I want to whom I want, about what I want," Weaver told the reporter. "This is my life, and he's got no business sticking his nose in it and violating my First Amendment rights. None. And I'm going to take that up with him on Friday."

Weaver's attorneys promptly filed a motion to be removed from his case.

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