SOUTHAMPTON COUNTY, Va. (WAVY) — The jury was selected Monday for the murder trial of Wesley Hadsell, the man accused of killing his stepdaughter 18-year-old AJ Hadsell in 2015.
AJ Hadsell disappeared in 2015 while home in Norfolk on spring break from Longwood University. Police found her body a month later behind an abandoned home in Southampton County. The medical examiner says she died from acute heroin poisoning.
Last October, Wesley Hadsell’s lawyer James Ellenson argued the intense media coverage of the case would make finding an unbiased local jury extremely difficult. Ellenson filed a motion on Wesley Hadsell’s behalf to move the trial out of Hampton Roads. The judge decided to wait to rule on that motion and see how jury selection played out.
During Monday’s jury selection, the media coverage issue didn’t hinder both sides from agreeing on a 12-person jury with two alternate jurors.
10 On Your Side caught up Ellenson after the selection was announced.
“I think the judge vetted them real well. I think that they’re all going to be impartial and the ones that did seem to know about the case didn’t seem to know specific facts that would necessarily turn around and come and bite us later on during the trial,” Ellenson said.
The trial continues Tuesday morning at 9:30 a.m. with opening statements and is scheduled to last two full weeks.
In an exclusive interview earlier this month, Wesley Hadsell told 10 On Your Side he believes the evidence will speak for itself in court, and he’s confident he will get acquitted.
“We’re going into this prepared for hopefully anything obviously. I’m very hopeful. I mean I’m confident. I’m not hopeful. I didn’t do anything wrong. I know that I should not be found guilty for something I did not do,” he explained.
However, there is key evidence against Wesley Hadsell. The GPS device in his work van led investigators to the abandoned home where they found AJ’s body. In the work, van investigators found gloves, duck-tape and a dirty shovel.
Wesley Hadsell claims the items were used for work and not the murder of his stepdaughter.
“I’ve never hurt my daughter. I’ve never so much as said an unkind word to her. I never fought with her,” Wesley Hadsell said.
10 On Your Side’s Kayla Gaskins will be in the courtroom every day to bring you updates. Be sure to follow this story on-air and online.
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