Khalil Wheeler-Weaver was 20 when he lured and killed three women using dating apps in 2016. He would spend 160 years in prison
A New Jersey man who used dating apps to lure and kill three women in three months was sentenced to 160 years in prison on Wednesday after an emotional trial that included testimony from a woman who managed to escape his grip .
Khalil Wheeler-Weaver, 25, stood still as the judge handed down sentence in Newark State Court.
Prosecutors credited one of the victim’s friends with locating him using a fake social media profile.
In a brief statement Wednesday, Wheeler-Weaver denied responsibility, telling Superior Court Judge Mark S. Ali he had been trapped. Wheeler-Weaver’s mother, aunt and brother were seated in the gallery but did not address the courtyard.
Wheeler-Weaver, of Orange, killed Sarah Butler, 20, Joanne Brown, 33, and Robin West, 19, in late summer and fall 2016.
All three women were involved in prostitution. Prosecutors argued that he targeted them because he believed no one would miss them. A jury took only two hours to convict him in December 2019.
His conviction came after moving statements from relatives of West and Butler.
Wheeler-Weaver, now 25, stood still as the judge handed down his sentence on Wednesday
Laverne Butler, mother of Sarah Butler, wore a shirt with her daughter’s photo in state court. Wheeler-Weaver strangled Sarah with a garment and threw her body into the woods
Tiffany Taylor, left, was a pregnant sex worker when she woke up to find herself raped and strangled in the back of Wheeler-Weaver’s car She testified on Wednesday
The sentences covered three murders, one attempted murder and other charges including kidnapping, aggravated arson and desecration of human remains.
The Essex County District Attorney’s Office credited friends of Montclair student Butler with using social media to help police find Wheeler-Weaver.
They gained access to Butler’s social media accounts, found him, created a fake profile, lured him to a meeting in Montclair and called the police, prosecutors said.
A fourth woman who survived an attack and testified at trial also provided crucial information that helped investigators as the details of her attack were similar to those of the other victims.
Tiffany Taylor was a pregnant prostitute living in a car with her mother in November 2016.
She said NorthJersey.com that she and a friend met Wheeler-Weaver for a drink at his house months before the attack and he looked “like an ordinary kid.” He sounded funny.
She agreed to meet him again seven months later, planning to steal him.
The Wheeler-Weaver killing is said to have started on August 31, 2016, when Robin West (left), a 19-year-old sex worker was last seen alive His next victim was Joanne Brown, a 33-year-old sex worker living on the streets.
His latest victim was Sarah Butler, 20, whom he solicited for sex and offered her $ 500
Instead, she regained consciousness and found herself raped and strangled by him in the back seat of her car.
During Wednesday’s sentencing, Taylor described how the attack changed her life.
“My whole life is different; I don’t wear makeup anymore; I have no friends. I am still paranoid. But I’m happy to be still here, “she said before addressing the judge:” I hope you don’t show him any remorse, because he shows none. “
“My whole life is different… but I’m happy to still be here,” said Taylor, a survivor.
Prosecutors presented evidence at trial that Wheeler-Weaver, then 20, used dating apps to entice women for sex and then strangled them.
Their bodies were found between September and December 2016 in northern New Jersey.
Investigators also presented evidence from Wheeler-Weaver’s cell phone that placed him where the victims went missing and their bodies were found.
Essex County Assistant District Attorney Adam Wells noted on Wednesday that the murders were several weeks apart, giving Wheeler-Weaver a chance to consider his actions before killing again.
Victor Butler, Sarah’s father, told his daughter’s killer: “I hope you are suffering, boy, every night.” Butler’s friends are credited with tracking down his killer using a fake profile
In a brief statement, Wheeler-Weaver denied responsibility and told the judge he was trapped
“The accused believed that these victims were disposable. They were killed, then he went on with his day as if nothing had happened, ”he said.
“But each of these women’s lives mattered. “
West, a 19-year-old from Philadelphia, was seen getting into a car with Wheeler-Weaver on the night of August 31, 2016.
She was killed within hours, prosecutors said.
They allege that Wheeler-Weaver dumped his body in an abandoned house not far from his own home in Orange, near Newark, and set the house on fire. It took about two weeks to identify his remains.
West’s mother Anita Mason described an at times stubborn young woman who often showed a softer side.
Robin West’s mother Anita Mason described her daughter as someone who wanted to help the homeless. West was a 19-year-old sex worker when Wheeler-Weaver killed her
“I will never forget his smile, his face, his walk, his desire to help the homeless,” Mason said Wednesday.
“The world is focused on the last month of his life. She had a whole life before she disappeared. Hundreds of people were affected by his life and were saddened by his death.
Joanne Brown, 33, of Newark, was killed about a month after West was identified and also dumped in an abandoned house in Orange, but her body was not discovered until six weeks later.
Butler went missing around Thanksgiving 2016, about a month after Brown’s murder, and his remains were discovered in a wooded area four days before Brown’s body was found.
Brown and Butler had both been strangled with clothes.
Butler’s father Victor on Wednesday urged the judge to give Wheeler-Weaver the maximum sentence.
Then, turning to the accused, he said, “I hope you are suffering, my boy, every night.