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Trial of Wesley Hadsell, accused of killing stepdaughter, heats up

Several people said Hadsell often referred to AJ in past tense before investigators found her dead in Southampton County. Hadsell’s attorney disagrees with officers.

SOUTHAMPTON COUNTY, Va. — In the trial against Wesley Hadsell, people have come forward to talk about what Hadsell did right after his stepdaughter, AJ Hadsell, disappeared in March 2015.

Investigators found the 18-year-old's body more than a month later behind an abandoned home in Southampton County. The medical examiner said she died from heroin poisoning.

Two Norfolk Police investigators testified on Thursday, saying when they talked to Wesley Hadsell after AJ’s disappearance, he had no emotion and acted extremely calm.

David Lefleur, a Norfolk Police sergeant, said Hadsell laid on AJ’s bed during an interview and changed his story several times. He also said Hadsell referred to AJ in past tense, and told him AJ never did any drugs.

Another Norfolk Police Investigator, Brandon Shum, said every time he tried to talk to AJ’s mom, Jennifer, Wesley Hadsell would interrupt and talk over her.

Hadsell’s attorney, James Ellenson, disputed that testimony.

“I think Lefleur’s testimony, that’s why people wear body cameras. That's why you record interviews, because the memory. His assertions about this, I just don't think they are very accurate,” Ellenson said.

A cadaver dog trainer testified and said her dog, Sam, smelled human remains in Hadsell’s hotel room and in a blue mini van. (We don’t know who owned the van.)

On Thursday afternoon, a woman named Teresa and her daughter, Lexy, testified. Lexy used to date AJ’s Hadsell’s ex-boyfriend.

According to them, when AJ disappeared, Hadsell came to their home to get more information about the ex-boyfriend. Teresa said Hadsell made her so uncomfortable, she went and got her gun.

While Hadsell talked to them in their living room, Teresa said he continued to flip a bullet in his hand. She also said Hadsell referred to AJ in the past tense. 

Teresa and Lexy both said Hadsell told them he'd broken into several homes looking for AJ. He also had surveillance video from the day she disappeared, but told the women he only gave one video to investigators.

Lexy said after Hadsell left, he kept texting her and wanting her to meet in private without her mom. Her mom said, "Absolutely not."

Prosecutors plan to call several more witnesses, including AJ’s mother, Jennifer Hadsell. That's expected to happen on Friday. 

Wesley Hadsell’s attorney said this trial is moving faster than expected. He believes all the evidence in the case could be presented by the end of next week. 

Credit: Family Photo
Anjelica "AJ" Hadsell

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