Clarington Woman Gets Life in Jail for Murder of Infant
Sentenced for murder of newborn child
ZANESVILLE, Ohio — Before she was sentenced to life in prison without parole for the murder of her newborn daughter Monday, Emile Weaver cried through an apology to the court, to everyone she caused anguish and specifically to her daughter, Addison.
“I stand before you a broken-down woman, asking for forgiveness and mercy,” she said. “Words cannot express how sorry I am to my beautiful daughter, Addison.”
Muskingum County Common Pleas Judge Mark Fleegle, however, said he did not believe she was remorseful or sorry at all.
The 21-year-old former Muskingum University student who is a resident of Clarington was convicted in May of aggravated murder, abuse of a corpse and two counts of tampering with evidence. She was accused of placing her newborn baby in a small garbage can shortly after giving birth on April 22, 2015, and then wrapping it in a trash bag and leaving it outside her sorority house on campus. The baby died of asphyxiation, according to the preliminary autopsy report.
On Monday, Weaver was sentenced to life in prison without parole for aggravated murder and four years in prison for the other charges. Her defense attorney, Aaron Miller, argued she should receive a lesser sentence — life in prison with the possibility of parole after 20 years.
“What does genuine remorse look like?” Miller asked. “How many times must an individual cry or not cry to show genuine remorse?”
But Fleegle said throughout the trial, evidence was heard that before and after she placed the baby in the trash, Weaver was more concerned with herself than her child. She told a detective she was more worried about her own health than that of her newborn.
“That does not show or verbalize any type of remorse,” Fleegle said.
She sent text messages, he said, hours after she gave birth but before the baby was found, to the young man she thought was the father to tell him the baby was “taken care of.”
“That was probably the most truthful statement you made that day,” he said. “It was an inconvenience, and you took care of it.”
Fleegle read a letter submitted to his office by Weaver before her sentencing. It was one of many he received, he said, from members of her family as well as her sorority sisters at school.
In the letter, she states that she feels remorse every day she wakes up. She calls herself selfish. She claims she made a mistake. She asked for the minimum sentence, adding, “We all do things we’re not proud of.”
“In those four paragraphs, you mention ‘I’ 15 times,” Fleegle said. “Once again, it’s all about you.”
Addison was not the only victim of Weaver’s actions, the judge said. Her sorority sisters sent letters to his office detailing what their lives have been like since Addison’s death. Several have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety disorders, and some have started using alcohol to cope.
One of Weaver’s sorority sisters, Moriah Saer, who testified during the trial that she woke early and heard the baby crying though she did not know what it was, wrote a letter to Addison, apologizing for what had happened to her. She wrote that Addison will always be in her heart.
“She wishes she’d broken down the door,” Fleegle said.
Mothers, he said, are supposed to protect and nurture their children. But Weaver repeatedly fell on her stomach, took pills in an attempt to end her pregnancy, drank alcohol and, ultimately, threw her baby in the garbage.
“You tried over and over to take that baby’s life,” Fleegle said.
Weaver told the court she wants to appeal her case.
Muskingum County Prosecutor Michael Haddox said while there is no way, when a life has been taken, to get justice completely, he and assistant prosecutor Ron Welch were satisfied with the sentence.
“I think Judge Fleegle hit it out of the park,” Haddox said.
One of Miller’s arguments was that this kind of crime is a societal issue and not an individual problem. But Welch said the opposite.
“It’s not a societal issue,” he said. “She made an individual choice to take the life of her child.”
Haddox said the trial was a clean trial in which the jury returned its verdict quickly, indicating jurors’ confidence in the verdict. He said the only question in this case was whether the baby was born alive.
“She could have had that child and let it lay on the floor of the bathroom and it would still be alive,” he said.