Man accused of abduction takes the stand - The Daily Progress: Local

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Man accused of abduction takes the stand

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Thursday, May 23, 2013 9:36 pm | Updated: 1:24 pm, Fri May 24, 2013.

A man charged in the alleged abduction of a 20-year-old Charlottesville woman told his side of the story for the first time publicly Thursday, during the third day of a jury trial that was scheduled to last one day and will likely take four. 

"She looked like she needed a ride. ... It was cold and windy," Mark Weiner, 53, said of his decision to call out to the woman as he left the Lucky Seven convenience store just after midnight Dec. 13.

On that night, like many other nights, Weiner testified that he left Piedmont Virginia Community College late and stayed out later, stopping at the downtown Wendy's drive-through and tooling around alone as he smoked the cigarettes he said his wife of 20 years disapproves of.

He pivoted in the witness stand after the disclosure to flash a half smile to the second row of the Albemarle County circuit courtroom, where his wife has sat alongside his siblings and their spouses throughout the proceedings.

Defense attorney Ford Childress called Weiner to testify after a lunch break and he remained on the stand for more than an hour, describing an uneventful ride from downtown Charlottesville to the victim's mother's home on Pantops.

After days of hearing about the victim, a soft-spoken young woman who on Tuesday detailed an ordeal than began with a kind gesture and allegedly ended in a dramatic escape from an abandoned Shadwell home, the jury of six men and seven women on Thursday learned more about the man facing a possible life sentence in the crime.

Weiner, a Food Lion store manager, said he is earning a business degree for "personal growth" and is actively involved in his 9-year-old son’s life, participating in his Boy Scout activities and taking him camping when they have time.

He was on his way to the family's Willow Way home in Greene County loaded down with groceries from the Ruckersville Wal-Mart after midnight Dec. 14 when deputies pulled over his Ford van, Weiner testified.

On the stand Thursday, Weiner said that Albemarle County police Detective Greg Anastopoulos asked him to give a statement at the police station, but Weiner said he wanted to clear everything up, "if there had been a misunderstanding," at a nearby gas station.

After a 10-minute talk, he was handcuffed and taken to an interview room at the police station off Fifth Street Extended. He said he did not understand what he was being accused of, but that he knew it was "serious."

Prosecutor Denise Lunsford told Judge Cheryl Higgins outside of the jury's presence that Weiner often drove home from school the same way the victim walked to get to her mother's apartment and might have been lying in wait to offer her a ride.

Authorities testified Thursday that they did not find any forensic evidence tying Weiner to the victim or the abandoned home she said she awoke in after he allegedly drugged her.

"This sinister theory the commonwealth has is just baseless," Childress said. "The connotation that he's out wandering around, stalking, as the commonwealth says, has no basis."

The trial is scheduled to resume Friday morning.


Stop in at H.L. Lang’s
Stop in at H.L. Lang’s to see our Morganite & Diamond Jewelry. Other varieties of styles also available including Rose Gold w/ Diamonds.
Scrapbook Tote Carrier Current Special!
Darice Rolling Scrap Tote (3 pack) with a FREE GIFT
Avery Square Townhome Community
Stop by today and check out the Avery Square Townhome Community - a new community of luxury townhomes with resort-style amenities that is unique to Charlottesville.! Townhomes starting at just $274,900.
Sale at Fantastic Sams!
Going on Now! Sale on all Fantastic Sam Line of Products! Stop in today!
Lifetime Warranty
LIFETIME WARRANTY only at Harrisonburg Ford. Contact us for more details!
Now Enrolling!
Epiphany Catholic Now Enrolling! Sign up now and register for the 2014-2015 school year.  Pre-K programs available.  Visit website or call today!