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Son of notorious child killer charged in homicide

By Steve Dubois / Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 07:44 p.m. HST, Feb 19, 2014

CANBY, Ore. » His grandfather sits on California's death row, and his father avoided a death sentence by pleading guilty to killing two Oregon girls.

Now Francis Weaver, 31, is one of three men charged with murder in what Canby, Ore., police describe as a drug deal gone bad.

Police allege Weaver and co-conspirators sought to steal drugs last weekend from a Grants Pass man whose car contained 15 pounds of marijuana. The victim, 43-year-old Edward Spangler, was shot in the face and shoulder.

Weaver and the other men, 27-year-old Michael A. Orren and 32-year-old Shannon Bettencourt, were arraigned Tuesday in an Oregon City court. A court clerk said they did not enter pleas and have yet to be assigned attorneys. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for next week.

Weaver's father, Ward Weaver III, was convicted of aggravated murder in 2004, two years after the bodies of Ashley Pond and Miranda Gaddis were found in his backyard. Before the discovery, the search for the 12-year-old Pond and 13-year-old Gaddis riveted Oregon for months and put the missing girls on the cover of People magazine.

It was Francis Weaver, then 19, who finally ended the mystery by calling emergency dispatchers to report that his girlfriend accused Ward Weaver of raping her, and his father had privately admitted to killing the girls.

In the early 1980s, Francis Weaver's grandfather, Ward Weaver Jr., was convicted of killing a man whose car had broken down and of kidnapping, raping and murdering the man's girlfriend, 23-year-old Barbara Levoy. Her body was found buried beneath a deck at his home in Oroville, Calif.

Francis Weaver's mother, Maria Shaw, said Wednesday her son is not the biological son of Ward Weaver III. Asked who is the father, she said it was either a now-deceased Marine named Richard or a man who was in the Navy named Christopher.

"I don't know which one of those two is the real dad," she said. "At the time, I was raped by Ward and I wanted revenge. I didn't want to be with Ward. I just wanted to get away from him."

Shaw, who eventually divorced Weaver in the 1990s, said her son had nothing to do with Spangler's death.

"He's not guilty," she said. "They want (to arrest) him so bad because they think he's Ward Weaver's son."

The Oregonian reported that exhaustive DNA investigations during case in which Ward Weaver III was convicted brought to light Francis Weaver is not his biological son, though both men had previously believed he was. Regardless, Francis Weaver was raised by Ward Weaver and grew up calling him "Dad."

The investigation began shortly before 5 a.m. Sunday when Canby police officers were called to a small park near the apartment where Shaw lives and Francis Weaver sometimes stays. Officers found Spangler's body next to a car that crashed into a tree.

Police documents obtained from the Clackamas County Jail said the men had been tracking Spangler for three hours in an attempt to steal the marijuana, with Weaver exchanging text messages with Orren. Minutes before the homicide, Orren was directed to a back parking lot at the apartment building, where he allegedly met Spangler.

A probable-cause statement written by Detective Brett Ethington said Orren was identified as the shooter and the gun believed to be used in the killing has been recovered.

Additional documents from the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office show Weaver was arrested on an assault charge Jan. 25 and heroin was found in his pocket.

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kahu808 wrote:
Bad seed.
on February 19,2014 | 07:43PM
environmental_lady wrote:
Like father, like son, like grandson. They all need to go to prison for life and never be allowed to breed again. No conjugal visits for them.
on February 19,2014 | 08:43PM
LMO wrote:
Nature vs Nurture...
on February 20,2014 | 02:07AM
Grimbold wrote:
This seems to show that there is a genetic role in behavior. We have always agreed that this is the case with animals. Only the dishonest political correct crowd tries to deny that humans have it. Because it would give legitimacy to racism, or recognition of bloodlines. Only because humans are frequently so mixed, it can not be easily seen.
on February 20,2014 | 02:36AM
SueH wrote:
Behavior is not necessarily genetic: behavior can be learned, even by monkeys. This story is a case in point.
on February 20,2014 | 09:14AM
whs1966 wrote:
What a fine family!
on February 20,2014 | 04:07AM
nippy68 wrote:
bad genes. all bloodline should be put down.
on February 20,2014 | 04:54AM
Bdpapa wrote:
Not the genes, poor upbringing. I am talking about bad parenting.
on February 20,2014 | 05:26AM
Grimbold wrote:
It is both.
on February 20,2014 | 07:24AM
krusha wrote:
Just like cancer cells, they keep multiplying and multiplying until you remove the tumor.
on February 20,2014 | 05:55AM
HAJAA1 wrote:
End the blood line
on February 20,2014 | 07:24AM
iwanaknow wrote:
Banish them for life?
on February 20,2014 | 08:13AM
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