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Prosecution rests its case in trial against Wesley Hadsell

Lead investigator David Benjamin testified several times during the trial against Wesley Hadsell. He provided key testimony to jurors.

FRANKLIN, Va. — The prosecution has rested its case in the trial against Wesley Hadsell.

Hadsell is accused of killing his 18-year-old stepdaughter, AJ Hadsell, in 2015. 

For the past eight days, jurors listened to key testimony from several people including AJ’s mom, sister, several detectives, and even former governor Dr. Ralph Northam.

The last person to take the stand on Wednesday was Norfolk Police Sgt. David Benjamin. Benjamin testified several times during this trial because he is the lead investigator on AJ’s Hadsell’s case.

Benjamin’s testimony focused a lot on Hadsell’s phone records and recordings of Hadsell talking to friends and family after AJ disappeared on March 2, 2015.

Benjamin said Hadsell told him that he and AJ typically communicated via text message and never physically called each other. 

Hadsell also said he always used a GPS because he was not good with directions.

When it came to searching for AJ, Benjamin said Hadsell lied about receiving tips about people finding AJ’s clothes on the side of the road. Benjamin also said when searching for evidence at Norfolk International Airport, Hadsell referred to the search as “b******t.”

A tip that Hadsell received couldn't be tracked by investigation. Hadsell told police he “can’t and won’t speak about” the tip.

Benjamin said recorded phone calls between Hadsell and his sister talked a lot about AJ and heroin. Benjamin said these conversations happened before the medical examiner determined AJ died from a heroin overdose.

When investigators searched Hadsell’s phone, Benjamin said detectives believe Hadsell reset his iPhone 6 to factory settings, however Hadsell told them he just bought the phone.

Benjamin said AJ and Wesley Hadsell’s phones hit on nearby towers several times the day AJ disappeared. 

He told Benjamin, “it looks like I’m hiding something,” and said it makes him look guilty.

“People get caught up in emotion and do things they wouldn't normally do and I understand that now,” Hadsell said in a police interview with Benjamin.

The defense plans to call its first witness on Thursday, which will include Wesley Hadsell’s mom and a neighbor who lived near the Hadsell family.

Wesley Hadsell’s attorney, James Ellenson, said he’s still unsure if Hadsell will take the stand in his trial.

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