Jury selected in Wesley Hadsell's trial

Posted at 8:36 AM, Feb 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-24 21:11:17-05

SOUTHAMPTON Co., Va. - Fourteen people have been chosen to serve on the jury for Wesley Hadsell's murder trial in Southampton County.

The trial began Monday morning. There were initially 73 potential jurors.

Hadsell was charged with murdering his adopted daughter, Anjelica "AJ" Hadsell, in Southampton County in 2015.

News 3 met up with Hadsell's defense attorney after court Monday and asked him about the jury selection.

"I think the judge vetted them well, and I think they're all gonna be impartial in this case. The ones that did seem to know about the case didn't seem to know specifics - specific facts that will come around and bite us later on in the trial," said defense attorney James Ellenson.

Potential jurors were asked several questions, like if they know anyone connected with the case, if they've been the victim of a violent crime or if they've had experience with severe drug use.

Several witnesses who are expected to take the stand during the trial were also in court earlier Monday.

On Monday, December 16, the court proceeding was supposed to be the last motions hearing before Wesley's trial.

At a previous hearing Hadsell's defense requested a subpoena of Governor Ralph Northam because the governor served as his stepdaughter’s doctor. The judge ruled that a subpoena be issued to the governor to attend the trial as a witness.

The defense said in court that Northam prescribed AJ an antidepressant, notriptyline, in January 2015 while practicing as a physician in Norfolk.

The subpoena reads that AJ’s mother had previously said that AJ had no history of depression, and claims that Northam’s testimony as to why he prescribed AJ an antidepressant and his overall treatment of her is extremely relevant to the case.

Wesley was charged with murdering AJ and concealing her body in November 2018. AJ was reported missing in March 2015, after she came home on Spring Break from Longwood University. Her body was found behind a home in Southampton County in April 2015.

The Medical Examiner said AJ died from an acute heroin poisoning.

Wesley was arrested shortly after AJ's body was found, but those charges did not relate to her disappearance and death. Wesley repeatedly told News 3 that he didn't have anything to do with AJ's death.

Earlier this year, Wesley pleaded not guilty to the murder and concealing a dead body charge.

When asked how Wesley was feeling about the trial, his attorney told News 3 he is doing fine and is looking forward to being found not guilty at the trial.

The judge said this case could take between two and three weeks.

Court is expected to resume Tuesday morning.