Crystal Weimer

Fayette County, Pennsylvania
Date of Crime:  January 27, 2001

Crystal Dawn Weimer was convicted in 2006 of conspiring to murder Curtis Haith. Haith, 21, was beaten and shot to death outside his Connellsville apartment following a late night party. Hours before the murder, Weimer and about a dozen or so friends including Haith drank beer at her house in Uniontown. At 11:30 p.m., one of the partiers drove Haith to Connellsville, 12 miles away. Weimer tagged along but returned to Uniontown within an hour. Haith partied at a Connellsville bar until 2:00 a.m., then invited some of the patrons to his nearby apartment. The last patrons left Haith's apartment about 4:30 a.m. Twenty minutes later, a neighbor called police reporting frantic screams from the area of Haith's apartment. Police found Haith beaten to death with a gunshot wound to the face in a lot next to his apartment.

Weimer came under suspicion because hours after the murder police found she had a black eye, broken toe, and muddy clothing splattered with blood. Weimer said she had a fight with her boyfriend, Mike Gibson, hours before the murder after she returned from Connellsville. Gibson said he had inflicted the injuries because Weimer was dancing with her cousin. DNA tests confirmed the blood on her was from Gibson.

Ten months after the murder, a witness, Thomas Beal, came forward and stated he saw Weimer commit the murder after Haith supposedly raped her. Beal cut a deal with prosecutors for his statement, but he later recanted. Over two years later, another witness, Joseph Cyril Stenger, came forward and stated he helped Weimer kill Haith, again over a supposed rape. Stenger had an extensive record for robbery and theft. Weimer denied Stenger's story including the rape allegation. She said she barely knew Haith.

Stenger would change his story 6 times. Versions of his story included committing the crime himself, knowing nothing about it, helping Weimer cover it up, and helping Weimer and an ex-boyfriend commit the crime. When asked how a diminutive woman like Weimer could take down the 300 lb. Haith, Stenger added a claim that she enlisted two black men whom he did not know. Stenger could not identify the type of car used in the murder or the gun he says was tossed into a pond but was never found. His initial descriptions of the crime contained no mention of any injuries suffered by Weimer, although he later said Haith had inflicted her injuries. In at least one story Stenger said he chatted with Weimer following the murder at her house at a time when she was already in police custody. He also said he helped Weimer get rid of her clothes by throwing them in the Youghiogheny River. However, police had already taken Weimer's clothes for testing. Stenger said he did not join in the beating of Haith, but watched it from a car. He said he fired a gun to stop the beating, but the bullet he fired accidentally hit Haith in the face.

At trial, Stenger testified along with a number of jailhouse informants. Defense witnesses countered much of the testimony. A forensic odontologist, Dr. Constantine Karazulas testified that a supposed bite mark on Haith's hand that was found in autopsy photos matched Weimer's teeth. Karazulas was Chief of Forensic Odontology for the Connecticut Police. His testimony was rebutted by Dr. Michael Sobol, Chief of Forensic Odontology for Allegheny County who testified that the mark on Haith's hand was of “limited evidentiary value” because of the photo quality. Karazulas conceded that forensic odontology was subjective and the differing opinions “proves odontology's not a very good science.”  [6/09]


References:  Innocence InstituteJustice

Posted in:  Victims of the State, Western Pennsylvania Cases, Bite Mark Cases