'Little Pete' a Haunting Nickname:
When Ward Weaver was a small boy he was nicknamed Little Pete after his father, a man who was part of his life for only a short time. In 1967, Trish Weaver left the elder Weaver, ending an abusive and unhappy marriage. After the separation, Weaver only saw his father on occasion. However, even without much contact, the young Weaver seemed to idolize his father, a fact that would later come back and haunt those around him.
The Turning Point:
In 1967, Trish Weaver married Bob Budrow, a heavy drinker who was abusive to his wife and children. Budrow hung out at bars, having very little to do with the kids. But when Weaver was 12, his step-father decided to take him on a job with him out of town. Trish received calls that Budrow was neglecting Weaver and demanded that he return her son. When Ward got home he was very angry with his mother and continued to be so for years to come. Trish said he was never the same after that trip.
Weaver's Siblings Felt Terrorized:
By the early '70s Weaver's violent side was surfacing. His half-brother, Robert Budrow Jr., who was nine years younger than Weaver, described him as terrorizing and brutal. Tammi Weaver, Weaver's younger sister, said that her brother had physically and sexually abused at least one family member at the age of 12 and never stopped even after he was married. In 1981, one teenage relative reported to the police that Weaver had repeatedly raped and beat her but the authorities never acted on it.
A Less Than Honorable Discharge:
Ward Weaver joined the US Navy Reserve in February 1981 and was stationed in the Philippines. According to records, Weaver spent much of his military time getting drunk and not reporting for duty. By May 17, 1982, he was discharged. While there he met his future wife, Maria Stout, who returned to Portland with him after he left the military. The couple moved in with Weaver's parents, and soon their relationship became one of control and abuse.
Weaver Reunites with His Father, a Convicted Murderer:
Maria, five months pregnant, ended up in the hospital after a violent encounter with Weaver, who she said slapped her, pulled her hair, and banged her head against the bed. She refused to press charges and by 1984 the two were married, expecting a second child, and living in Bakersfield, California. Ward wanted to move there to reconnect with his father who was on trial for murder. Weaver loyally attended his father's murder trial, and later had regular visits with him on death row.
Weaver's Rage Surfaces:
Eventually the family moved to Fairfield, California with another family, the Ordanas. One day after fighting with Maria, Weaver, drunk and angry, asked the young sisters of the Ordonas family to drive him to go get more alcohol. Once there, Weaver, who was already drunk, attacked Jennifer Ordonas and her 15-year-old sister by hitting them with a concrete block. They escaped the attack and Ward was sentenced to three years in prison for the assault.
In 1993, Maria Weaver filed a restraining order against Weaver and their marriage ended. Shortly after that, Weaver met 18-year old Kristi Sloan and soon his life was back to "normal," demonstrating his controlling and abusive ways to Kristi. In July 1995, he beat her repeatedly with a cast-iron skillet. Although he was jailed for the incident, Sloan refused to testify against him and by October they were back together and married in February 1996. The marriage only lasted four years.
Weaver Meets Ashley Pond and Miranda Gaddis:
In August 1997, Weaver began an affair with a woman he met at work. As in all his relationships, the two fought frequently. They had an on-again, off-again relationship for over five years when finally they moved in together into his rental house on South Beavercreek Road in Oregon City. It was there that his 12-year old daughter attended Gardiner Middle School and became friends with Ashley Pond and Miranda Gaddis. The two were regulars at the Weaver home, attending their friend's sleepovers.
Ashley Cries for Help:
In August 2001, Ashley accused Weaver of attempting to rape her, a claim that was not investigated by police. Possibly Weaver, knowing Ashley had accused another man of the same offense, saw the vulnerability in her not being believed a second time. Ashley continued to warn friends, including Miranda, about Weaver. On Jan. 9, 2002, Ashley disappeared on her way to school. Two months later, Miranda vanished. Neither girl was ever seen alive again.
Events Surrounding the Deaths of Ashley Pond and Miranda Gaddis:
After the girls vanished, Weaver, with the help of his son, dug a hole in his back yard and covered it with cement, saying that it was for a hot tub. On Aug. 13, Ward Weaver was arrested on charges that he raped his son's 19-year-old girlfriend. In a call to 911, his son told emergency dispatchers that his father admitted to him that he killed Ashley and Miranda.
On the weekend of Aug. 24-25, FBI agents found the remains of Ashley Pond in the hole that Weaver had dug in his backyard and the remains of Miranda Gaddis in a bag in a storage shed.
On October 2, 2002, Weaver was indicted and charged with six counts of aggravated murder, two counts of abuse of a corpse in the second degree, one count of sexual abuse in the first degree and one count of attempted rape in the second degree, one count of attempted aggravated murder, one count of attempted rape in the first degree and one count of sexual abuse in the first degree, one count of sexual abuse in the second degree and two counts of sexual abuse in the third degree for allegedly assaulting a 15-year-old girl.
After a lengthy psychiatric evaluation, it was decided on Aug. 25, that he was competent to stand trial.
Like Father Like Son?
A look at the similarities of the Ward Weaver and his father, convicted killer, Ward Weaver Jr.:
- Grew up in abusive and volatile homes.
- As they aged they became more abusive and unpredictably violent.
- Accused (never charged) with beating and raping a member of their family.
- Family members accused them of torturing animals.
- Married twice and accused of being violent in both marriages.
- Very possessive with their wives and had rules they had to obey.
- Unpredictable and violent tempers.
- Violent against those who appear weak and vulnerable.
- Both had five children.
- A record of violence against women.
- Accused of burying a body under concrete in their backyards.
- Solicited their children help in digging the hole in their backyards.