FRANKLIN, Va. (WAVY) — Two detectives who were part of the initial missing person investigation testified Thursday in the murder trial of Wesley Hadsell, charged with killing his stepdaughter AJ while she was home from college nearly seven years ago.
Detective David LaFleur came to the Hadsell home in early March 2015, after AJ Hadsell had been reported missing.
He said while trying to have conversations with AJ’s mother and sister, Hadsell would hover over them.
Lafleur said when he questioned Hadsell about his stepdaughter’s life, Hadsell would respond in the past tense such as “she was such a good girl.”
But Hadsell’s defense attorney questions the detective’s testimony.
“His assertions about this, I just don’t think they’re very accurate at all. That’s why police officers now wear body cameras so you don’t have these questions,” said attorney James Ellenson.
Another Norfolk detective, Brandon Shum, said in his conversations with Hadsell, he was trying to direct that detective who to investigate, telling Shum he should focus on a boyfriend, Corey French. According to Shum’s testimony, Hadsell said French “was obsessed with AJ.”
Lexy Carlo, who had also dated French at one point, testified that Wesley Hadsell visited her shortly after AJ went missing, and told her “if I had a gun pointed at your head you would do anything I said.” She also testified that Hadsell told her he liked to see himself on the news.
AJ Hadsell’s cause of death was heroin overdose. The defense attorney says there’s been no connection to that so far in the trial.
“If she did die from a heroin overdose, where has there been any evidence of how she took the heroin?” Ellenson said.
Family members and friends have said they had no knowledge of AJ ever taking drugs.
In other testimony, a woman who handled cadaver dogs said that her dog indicated the scent of human remains when Hadsell’s hotel room on Little Creek Road was searched two weeks after AJ was reported missing, although no body was present in the room.
The trial continues Friday, when AJ Hadsell’s mother Jennifer is expected to testify.