By MARGIE NETZEL - firstname.lastname@example.org
PAINESVILLE — It was a day of nothing, but good news for the Lake County prosecution team — after a day and a half of deliberation, the jury found Austinburg Township resident Danna Weimer guilty on all 17 charges against her Monday.
To add to the excitement, an Ashtabula County resident found the missing van in the case, evidence that could help prosecute Danna’s son, Zachary Weimer, on the same 17 charges.
Danna Weimer, who faces life in prison for 17 charges, including aggravated murder and aggravated burglary, in the June 13 death of 77-year-old Eleanor Robertson, will be sentenced on Nov. 7, Lake County Common Pleas Court records show.
Her son, Zachary Weimer, 22, is a co-defendant in the case. He faces the same 17 charges as his mother, which include murder, burglary, drug abuse and receiving stolen property. He goes to trial on Nov. 13, court records show.
Robertson was bludgeoned to death and had 94 puncture wounds across her body, Lake County Coroner Lynn Smith said. Robertson’s body had been burned or doused with chemicals and was found under layers of clothing and a mattress.
While there was no physical evidence linking Danna Weimer with the murder and burglary scene, Lake County assistant prosecutor Mark Bartolotta said Danna’s complicity in the crimes make her just as guilty as her son, whose footprints clearly place him at Robertson’s Madison Township home at the time of the murder.
Bartolotta said he was concerned the jury might not understand the extent of the complicity charge.
“That complicity element is difficult,” he said. “No one was saying that (Danna) physically murdered Eleanor Robertson. But she is as guilty as Zachary in that she ‘drove the getaway car,’ so to speak. The jury followed the law just as they should have and they did the right thing.”
Police officer searched the wooded areas of Ashtabula County for months looking for Robertson’s 1995 Plymouth Voyager mini van, which was located on Sunday in Morgan Township by a man on an all-terrain vehicle, Madison Police Chief Leonard DelCalzo said.
“It was hidden in plain sight,” he said. “The person who found it read about the missing van in the newspaper and found this one and immediately called us.”
DelCalzo said the van was found just 30 feet off Shaffer Road, located just south of Footville-Richmond Road.
“It was hiding in plain sight,” he said. “In another month, when the leaves fell from the trees and there was a little snow, I bet we could have see it from the road.”
DelCalzo said detectives are collecting evidence from the vehicle now to add to the case against Zachary Weimer.