SOUTHAMPTON Co. (WAVY) — Wesley Hadsell, the man accused of killing his adopted stepdaughter AJ Hadsell, was back in court Tuesday, but he didn’t get the outcome he was hoping for.
A pre-trial hearing Monday reviewed the defense’s request to surrender evidence from a search warrant of a Norfolk hotel room. The judge had said the evidence was too important to the trial to make a decision last Thursday and set a date of a separate hearing to look at that matter.
The judge ruled against Hadsell’s request to not allow the evidence from the hotel room.
AJ disappeared in March 2015 while on spring break from Longwood University. Investigators found her body a month later behind an abandoned home in Southampton County and a medical examiner ruled she died as a result of homicidal violence and acute heroin poisoning.
Hadsell was charged later, in 2018.
Hadsell argued the affidavit used to get the search warrant for his hotel room had false information and that the evidence collected shouldn’t be used in court.
The judge said he couldn’t find enough proof for that claim to not allow the evidence into trial.
Hadsell’s defense attorney James Ellenson had not talked about this case until Monday. He theorizes AJ killed herself.
“If there was a homicide, I don’t think they can prove where it happened,” Ellenson said. “Of course our position [is] it didn’t happened. I do not think there was a murder. I don’t think the commonwealth can prove a murder.”
Ellenson also believes if there was a case against Hadsell, it would be in Norfolk.
Last week, Governor Ralph Northam was also called to testify as a witness. Before Northam became Virginia’s governor, he was AJ’s doctor.
Court documents show Northam prescribed AJ anti-depressants two months before she disappeared.
The defense says Northam’s testimony about AJ’s mental health leading up to her disappearance and death is crucial for the trial. Hadsell’s lawyers argued the anti-depressants, along with journal entries of AJ’s, show the teen may have been suicidal.
In court, the commonwealth’s attorney argued AJ’s medical records at Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters show the medicine Northam prescribed at that time was for headaches, not for depression.
This trial is set to take place at the end of February, while the General Assembly is in session in Richmond.
Tune in to WAVY News 10 for more coverage.