Jury convicts pastor of murder in 2-year-old foster son’s death

Published: Wednesday, April 19, 2017 @ 4:00 PM
Updated: Thursday, April 20, 2017 @ 9:05 PM

UPDATE @ 9:05 p.m. (April 20)

A Dayton pastor accused of killing his 2-year-old foster son was found guilty tonight as charged by a Montgomery County jury.

Torace Weaver, 38, was indicted on counts of murder, reckless homicide, involuntary manslaughter, felonious assault, endangering children and obstructing official business. His wife, Shureka, 40, was indicted on one count of endangering children, a third-degree felony. She also was found guilty as charged by jurors during their trial.

The couple’s foster son, Stanley Karl Thomas III, was fatally injured November 2015 at the King of Glory Worship Center on Genesee Avenue in Dayton.

Montgomery County Assistant Prosecutor John Amos spoke after the verdict was reached.

“This was a very emotional case ... for a lot of people,” he said. “Without any witnesses to this case, it really was a medical case.”

Prosecutors said the foster child suffered a fractured skull, bruises, scars and burns. Initially, Weaver told police the boy fell off a table. Later, he said they had been playing “Superman” when the 2-year-old slipped and hit a wall.

“There’s no doubt he was abused. There’s no doubt he was assaulted violently,” Amos said.

The case against Shureka Weaver was largely because she did not seek medical attention for what were described as second-degree burns on the boy, prosecutors said.

Carl Norton, a superintendent for the Weavers’ church and several others, said what happened was an accident.

“The jury made a decision and that is something they will have to live with,” he said.

The Weavers, who were tried together, will be sentenced May 5.

UPDATE @ 7:31 p.m. (April 20) 

The Montgomery County Common Pleas jury is reporting that it has a verdict in the case against Torace and Shureka Weaver. 

RELATED: Pastor’s foster son had 20 head injuries and burn mark, autopsy shows

UPDATE @ 5:25 p.m. (April 20)

It’s now up to a jury to decide what’s next for the pastor accused of killing his 2-year-old foster son. Torace Weaver claims the 2015 death of Stanley Thomas was a terrible accident.

RELATED: Pastor accused of murder gave conflicting statements in 911 call

EARLIER REPORT (April 19)

Two-year-old Stanley Karl Thomas III died of a catastrophic skull fracture but had other internal and external injuries that were consistent with suspected abuse, a doctor said Wednesday in the Torace Weaver murder trial.

“The child had so many extensive injuries I can’t recall them all,” testified Dr. Lori Vavul-Roediger, a child abuse pediatrician and medical director for child advocacy at Dayton Children’s Hospital, adding that her opinion is that Stanley died of “fatal physical abuse.”

Jurors saw multiple videos of interrogations of Weaver, including that he explained how he was playing “Superman” with his 2-year-old foster son when his he lost his grip and Stanley’s head hit a concrete wall in November 2015.

In one span, Weaver changed his story from saying he was in the bathroom and heard a “thud” and came out to see Stanley face down on the floor to the Superman story.

Vavul-Roediger testified that neither scenario Weaver explained was plausible. She said the type of head injuries and hemorrhages Stanley had were more consistent with a fall from several stories or an automobile accident.

Weaver said he had hold of one arm and one foot, lost his balance and that’s when Stanley hit the wall and a shoe flew off another direction. At times in the video, Weaver cried and emotionally explained that it was an accident.

“I loved that little boy like my own son,” Weaver said.

EARLIER: Wife of foster father accused in child’s death now in custody

Weaver, 38, was indicted on counts of murder, reckless homicide, involuntary manslaughter, felonious assault, endangering children and obstructing official business.

Weaver’s wife, Shureka, 40, was indicted on one count of endangering children, a third-degree felony. In video of her interrogation, she told police she didn’t know how Stanley got the burn on his arm, but that she treated it with salve, hydrogen peroxide and wrapped it.

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Vavul-Roediger testified that the burns on Stanley’s arm were so extensive that they would have been classified as second-degree burns that would have been painful and require medical attention. The doctor also said hydrogen peroxide on such a wound may be painful and not promote healing.

The trial is scheduled to resume this morning in the courtroom of Montgomery County Common Pleas Court Judge Mary Katherine Huffman.

10-year-old boy with autism arrested at school

Published: Sunday, April 23, 2017 @ 1:54 AM

Child arrested (stock photo)
jabejon/Getty Images

Luanne Haygood, the mother of a 10-year-old boy with autism, is angry that her son was arrested earlier this month at his Florida school for allegedly punching and kicking his teacher six months ago. Okeechobee County school resource officers put the child in handcuffs at Okeechobee Achievement Academy, but Haygood said the school district isn’t properly equipped to deal with autistic children.

“He has autism. He doesn’t know what’s going on,” she can be heard saying in the video that she recorded of her son’s arrest. “He’s scared to death. He’s 10 years old.”

>> Watch Haygood's video here (WARNING: Viewer discretion advised)

Haygood watched as her son was removed from his classroom for allegedly leaving a paraprofessional with scratches and other marks back in October. He was arrested on an outstanding warrant on allegations of felony battery on a school board authority.

“I was extremely angry. That I felt like this was a power play. I felt like this was a this is what you get. You can’t do anything about it. We’re going to arrest your son if he can’t abide by the rules,” Haygood told WFOR, adding that her son's disability is the reason behind his behavior. “To go and have him arrested on school grounds in front of other students, in front of personnel, during school hours – they could’ve come to my house at any time to tell me what was going on.”

>> Read more trending news

The boy reportedly spent one night in juvenile detention, according to the Washington Post. The child was then released on house arrest and is expected to appear in court next month.

Haygood said the incident would never have happened if the school had the proper services to address his disability.

“I want something done," she told WFOR. "I want other kids to not have to go through this.”

According to CNN, the school district released the following statement:

"It has been district procedure to invite students in to take the Florida Standards Assessment. The district would not invite someone to one of our campuses for the sole purpose to arrest.

"The district routinely assists students by providing services from our board certified behavioral analyst, licensed mental health counselors, school social workers, and psychologists. As a team, these individuals develop interventions, conduct assessments, and offer support both at school and in the home in order to assist students and families.

"The district is unable to provide specific information as to both current and past incidents regarding this or any other student due to educational laws and rules. It is our hope that we can continue to work with all families to help their students improve both behaviorally and academically."

– The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.

Related

Daytime burglars steal thousands in guns, electronics from Dayton home

Published: Saturday, April 22, 2017 @ 11:37 PM

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A man returned home from work Friday evening to find his doors unlocked and thousands of dollars in electronics, weapons and cash missing.

Police were called around 5:30 p.m. to the 1800 block of East Fifth Street in Dayton on a report of a daytime burglary. The suspect or suspects are believed to have entered through a side window on the first floor, which was broken, according to a Dayton police report. 

Items stolen include a small fireproof safe containing $3,800; four flat-screen televisions and other electronics, including an Xbox, DVD player, sound bar and cable boxes.

Weapons also were taken, including two collector knives and 12 guns: a 9mm Glock, two 44mm Rugers, a silver 40mm Smith & Wesson, four rifles and four shotguns, the report stated. 

The value of the stolen items is in excess of $10,000 during the burglary in broad daylight. A crew was requested to the home to try to find evidence leading to a suspect or suspects.

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Dayton man tells police he has no idea why neighbor attacks, stabs him in alley

Published: Saturday, April 22, 2017 @ 5:01 PM

A 29-year-old Dayton man said a neighbor attacked and stabbed him Friday afternoon in an alley but he didn't know why.

Police were called around 3:40 p.m. to the 20 block of Ridge Avenue, where the victim was with medics. He suffered a stab wound to his left arm, a cut on his right hand and a cut to his left eye and some head injuries, according to a Dayton police report.

The victim initially said he didn’t know who attacked him and said he tried to fight back until his girlfriend told him the man had a weapon, described as a small folding pocket knife. He and his girlfriend then ran home, and that’s when he realized he had been stabbed, according to a Dayton police report.

Medics took the victim to Grandview Medical Center, where he admitted his attacker was a man in his 50s who lives in the same block. He told police he lied because he feared retaliation and didn’t want to press charges, according to the report.

No arrests were made and the incident remains under investigation.

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Police turn to cameras to monitor Middletown park

Published: Saturday, April 22, 2017 @ 2:47 PM
Updated: Saturday, April 22, 2017 @ 7:52 PM


            Signs Middletown police will place at Goldman Park along with security camera. MIDDLTOWN DIVISION OF POLICE

Citing complaints and disturbances in past seasons, Middletown police are installing video security cameras at Goldman Park in time for Middletown Youth Softball’s opening day.

“Over the past few years we have encountered quite a few complaints at Goldman Park during the Middletown Youth Softball season. We receive quite a number of complaints from parents of disturbances and other problems through out the summer. We’ve had to dedicate too many officers each summer to the park,” Middletown police posted to Facebook on Friday.

The solution is the installation of recording cameras at access point to the part on Highland Street, police said. The cameras are to be in place and working in time for opening day next Saturday.

“This is something that will help us identify those who cause problems for those who are there to have a good time with their families and enjoy the park. Our stance is zero tolerance for crime, fighting and drinking in the park” police said.

And there is a final warning, “We may not catch you in the act, but the cameras will. If you’re causing problems there, you will be banned from the park and probably arrested. The park is for families and ball players who want to have a fun summer, not problem people.”

Police officials could not be reached for comment today.