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Louisa man guilty in Orange slaying

A 44-year-old Louisa County man pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in the 2012 death of James Oliver Weaver in Orange County.

James Melvin Smith, the victim’s sometimes handyman, admitted in Orange County Circuit Court to killing Weaver by blunt-force trauma to the head.

Weaver, 84, was found bludgeoned to death in his home on April 12, 2012.

Through the course of their investigation, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office discovered Smith had worked off and on at Weaver’s home doing odd jobs.

Smith’s whereabouts were traced to Charles Town, W.Va., where he was apprehended.

Smith was already wanted in Orange on fraud and forgery charges and was arrested on those charges as well.

Court records show that Smith was convicted of raping a minor in Pennsylvania on Aug. 11, 1994.

Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Clarissa T. Berry summarized the evidence, describing Weaver as a “loving, friendly man who was devoted to his friends and family who was tragically murdered.”

The maximum possible punishment is life in prison.

Sentencing for Smith is set for Dec. 6, at 9:30 a.m.

Lindley Estes: 540/735-1976

lestes@freelancestar.com

 

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