SOUTHAMPTON Co., Va. - A Norfolk man accused in the death of his stepdaughter maintains his innocence.
It has been than four years since Anjelica “AJ” Hadsell disappeared and died. Early on in the investigation, her stepfather, Wesley Hadsell, was a person of interest in the case.
Despite going to jail on other unrelated charges, in November 2018 he was charged with her death. The charges include concealing a dead body and first-degree murder.
He was first arraigned on these charges in Southampton County in February. Since then, he has gotten a new attorney. On Thursday morning, he pleaded not guilty to all three of the charges again. A trial date of February 24, 2020, has also been set.
Wesley's attorney says his case is a difficult one because they will have to interview many of Wesley's jailhouse acquaintances because he believes they will be witnesses for the Commonwealth. Since AJ's disappearance, many inmates have come forward to investigators saying that they have information about Wesley's alleged involvement in AJ's death.
Timeline: The AJ Hadsell investigation
At Wesley's hearing Thursday was AJ's first stepfather, Zach Hoffer. He says he raised AJ from when she was 1 year old until she was a teenager. Hoffer tells News 3 he wanted custody of AJ after he and her mother divorced.
"None of this would have happened if family courts wouldn’t have made the wrong choice in 2010," said Hoffer.
In previous interview with News 3, Hoffer has said that he believes Wesley played a direct role in AJ's death. Now that charges have been filed, he plans to attend every court proceeding to see that justice is served.
"Anjelica is my daughter. She always will be," explained Hoffer. "I go to the house where she last was and I got some flowers put out there just because I want people to know that evil doesn’t win."