Crucial clues in Anjelica 'AJ' Hadsell's death that led cops to stepdad Wendall including vital evidence he PLANTED
A MAN was sentenced to life in prison after he was convicted of murdering his 18-year-old stepdaughter, who died of heroin poisoning back in 2015.
A jury in Virginia deliberated for only 40 minutes before finding Wesley Hadsell guilty of first-degree murder and concealing a dead body.
He was sentenced on April 4 for the murder of Anjelica “AJ” Hadsell, who was found dead behind an abandoned Southhampton County home.
AJ was on spring break from Longwood University when she visited her family’s home in Norfolk. She disappeared on March 2, 2015.
Five weeks later, her partially buried body was found in a ditch near the North Carolina border.
It was determined by a medical examiner that AJ died from acute heroin poisoning and “homicidal violence.” The examiner stated that AJ had three times the lethal amount of heroin in her system and she fact bruises on her face.
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However, the examiner couldn’t determine if she had been sexually assaulted due to the damage to her body from animals and insects.
Hadsell wasn’t charged in the case until 2018. Prosecutors argued that, after being kicked out of the family home by his wife days earlier due to his drug abuse, Hadsell abducted AJ as she was folding laundry in the living room.
Hadsell was accused of abducting the teen to sexually assault her and prosecutors believed she wasn’t killed until the following day.
Bruises found on AJ’s chest were consistent with someone holding an arm across her chest, said Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Toni Colvin.
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More bruising on her chin was likely caused by someone holding it in their hands, which is how Colvin believed Hadsell forced the drugs into AJ.
“He abused her, he beat her and then he poisoned her with heroin,” Colvin said to the court.
She said that Hadsell attempted to distract police by lying and planting evidence in several places, including breaking into the home of one of AJ’s male friends and hiding a jacket with her name embroidered on it with his things.
Hadsell admitted to breaking into the home during a previous interview with a local TV station but said he did not put the jacket there.
However, Defense attorney James Ellenson argued that AJ had committed suicide by overdosing on medication she was taking for migraine headaches.
Ellenson claimed that AJ was suffering from depression over her relationship with her boyfriend and was downloading images with suicidal themes days before she disappeared.
AJ’s mother, Jennifer Wright, testified that her daughter was happy before she died and said her ex-husband’s behavior was erratic after her daughter disappeared.
“It was very odd,” said Wright. “He was always coming and going.
Heroin was found hidden in a crevice near the ceiling of the motel room where Hadsell stayed after being kicked out by his wife, said Norfolk police.
Matt Burnham, an officer with the Norfolk Police Department, testified that he found a baggie with a white substance that was later determined to be heroin. A drug dealer testified that he sold the drugs to Hadsell the day after AJ was reported missing.
A search of Hadsell’s work van found a shovel and duct tape in the back and a hair band between the seats. A photo of AJ was also found inside the vehicle.
Police found the abandoned house thanks to the GPS unit in the van. It showed that the vehicle traveled to the house from Norfolk on March 4, two days after JA went missing.
Bank records and convenience store surveillance footage showed that Hadsell was in the area.
“There was no reason for the defendant to be there,” said Colvin.
The case will be covered in tonight’s episode of Dateline.
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