Almost a year to the date since his arraignment, a Louisa man changed his plea from ‘not guilty’ to ‘guilty’ in the bludgeoning death of a World War II veteran in Orange County Circuit Court on Friday, Sept. 6.
According to authorities, James Melvin Smith, 44, beat James Oliver Weaver, 84, of Thornhill, to death with a sledgehammer on April 11, 2012.
Authorities said an autopsy of Weaver’s body revealed that he “received fatal injuries to his head due to blunt force trauma.”
Investigators with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office were called to scene on April 12, 2012, when a neighbor, who checked daily on Weaver, found him dead in his home and contacted local authorities.
OCSO began to canvass the neighborhood and set up roadblocks. According to OCSO Captain William Hayes, authorities were able to locate three witnesses who described unique features of the white Chevy SUV registered to Smith.
As the scene was processed, it was determined there were two missing checks in Weaver’s checkbook. Authorities contacted the Wells Fargo bank in Orange and were able to view video showing Smith cashing one altered check and two stolen checks from Weaver’s account.
To read the entire story, see the Sept. 12 edition of The Central Virginian.