Jury convicts pastor of murder in 2-year-old foster son’s death

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Jury convicts pastor of murder in 2-year-old foster son’s death

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Stanley Thomas III died Nov. 18, 2015. Torace Weaver was convicted of murder and other charges April 20, 2017, in the death of his foster son. CONTRIBUTED

UPDATE @ 9:05 p.m. (April 20)

A Dayton pastor accused of killing his 2-year-old foster son was found guilty tonight as charged by a Montgomery County jury.

Torace Weaver, 38, was indicted on counts of murder, reckless homicide, involuntary manslaughter, felonious assault, endangering children and obstructing official business. His wife, Shureka, 40, was indicted on one count of endangering children, a third-degree felony. She also was found guilty as charged by jurors during their trial.

The couple’s foster son, Stanley Karl Thomas III, was fatally injured November 2015 at the King of Glory Worship Center on Genesee Avenue in Dayton.

Montgomery County Assistant Prosecutor John Amos spoke after the verdict was reached.

“This was a very emotional case ... for a lot of people,” he said. “Without any witnesses to this case, it really was a medical case.”

Prosecutors said the foster child suffered a fractured skull, bruises, scars and burns. Initially, Weaver told police the boy fell off a table. Later, he said they had been playing “Superman” when the 2-year-old slipped and hit a wall.

“There’s no doubt he was abused. There’s no doubt he was assaulted violently,” Amos said.

The case against Shureka Weaver was largely because she did not seek medical attention for what were described as second-degree burns on the boy, prosecutors said.

Carl Norton, a superintendent for the Weavers’ church and several others, said what happened was an accident.

“The jury made a decision and that is something they will have to live with,” he said.

The Weavers, who were tried together, will be sentenced May 5.

UPDATE @ 7:31 p.m. (April 20) 

The Montgomery County Common Pleas jury is reporting that it has a verdict in the case against Torace and Shureka Weaver. 

UPDATE @ 5:25 p.m. (April 20)

It’s now up to a jury to decide what’s next for the pastor accused of killing his 2-year-old foster son. Torace Weaver claims the 2015 death of Stanley Thomas was a terrible accident.

EARLIER REPORT (April 19)

Two-year-old Stanley Karl Thomas III died of a catastrophic skull fracture but had other internal and external injuries that were consistent with suspected abuse, a doctor said Wednesday in the Torace Weaver murder trial.

“The child had so many extensive injuries I can’t recall them all,” testified Dr. Lori Vavul-Roediger, a child abuse pediatrician and medical director for child advocacy at Dayton Children’s Hospital, adding that her opinion is that Stanley died of “fatal physical abuse.”

Jurors saw multiple videos of interrogations of Weaver, including that he explained how he was playing “Superman” with his 2-year-old foster son when his he lost his grip and Stanley’s head hit a concrete wall in November 2015.

In one span, Weaver changed his story from saying he was in the bathroom and heard a “thud” and came out to see Stanley face down on the floor to the Superman story.

Vavul-Roediger testified that neither scenario Weaver explained was plausible. She said the type of head injuries and hemorrhages Stanley had were more consistent with a fall from several stories or an automobile accident.

Weaver said he had hold of one arm and one foot, lost his balance and that’s when Stanley hit the wall and a shoe flew off another direction. At times in the video, Weaver cried and emotionally explained that it was an accident.

“I loved that little boy like my own son,” Weaver said.

Weaver, 38, was indicted on counts of murder, reckless homicide, involuntary manslaughter, felonious assault, endangering children and obstructing official business.

Weaver’s wife, Shureka, 40, was indicted on one count of endangering children, a third-degree felony. In video of her interrogation, she told police she didn’t know how Stanley got the burn on his arm, but that she treated it with salve, hydrogen peroxide and wrapped it.

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Vavul-Roediger testified that the burns on Stanley’s arm were so extensive that they would have been classified as second-degree burns that would have been painful and require medical attention. The doctor also said hydrogen peroxide on such a wound may be painful and not promote healing.

The trial is scheduled to resume this morning in the courtroom of Montgomery County Common Pleas Court Judge Mary Katherine Huffman.

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