The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

November 25, 2012

Evidence of murder

Building case against Weimers took investigators months

PAINESVILLE —  In boxes, in bags, tucked into manila folders and heavy envelopes, sealed for safety, were more than 50 bags of evidence in the murder trials of Zachary and Danna Weimer.

But using the evidence to convict the mother and son  was a labor of love for Lake County investigators, Lake County assistant prosecuting attorney Mark Bartolotta said.

“It is a lot of evidence,” he said. “And the defense would have you believe this was some sort of witch hunt — that we went back and back to the scene of this crime until we found something, anything to link the suspects to the murder. In the end, it was about what was there and what was found, no matter how long it took to find it.”

Zachary Weimer, 23, and his mother, Danna Weimer, 54, have been convicted of aggravated murder, burglary and receiving stolen property in the June stabbing of 77-year-old Eleanor Robertson. Danna Weimer’s October trial included seven days of testimony. Zachary’s trial last week included four full days of testimony.

He will be sentenced by Judge Vincent Culotta on Dec. 17, court records show. Danna Weimer will be sentenced by Judge Eugene Lucci on Dec. 12.

Bartolotta said the investigation and trial came at a hefty expense, as forensic specialists worked to gather and process each individual piece of evidence, including sending two pet hairs to a lab in California for DNA analysis.

Crime scene investigators found two pet hairs on Robertson’s clothing. Because Robertson didn’t own a pet, the two hairs, along with the fur samples and cheek swab samples of pets in both Zachary and Danna Weimer’s homes, were sent for analysis.

“The results of those findings did not match the Weimers’ pets to the hairs on the victim,” Bartolotta said, “but no way would we overlook what could have been a piece of significant evidence. Not in a case of this magnitude and not in any case.”

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