Khalil Wheeler-Weaver, a serial killer who used dating apps to lure and kill three women in 2016, was sentenced to 160 years in prison on Wednesday.
According to ABC News, Wheeler-Weaver was convicted in 2019 of three counts of murder in the deaths of Sarah Butler, 20, Robin West, 19, and Joanne Brown, 33, between August and November 2016, as well as one count of attempted murder and other counts, including kidnapping, aggravated arson and desecration of human remains. During the trial, it was revealed that friends of Butler were instrumental in helping catch Wheeler-Weaver by setting up a fake social media account to lure him to a meeting and then calling the police.
Family members of Butler and West provided powerful statements followed by Tiffany Taylor, a fourth victim who survived an attack by Wheeler-Weaver.
“My whole life is different; I don’t wear makeup anymore; I don’t have friends. I’m always paranoid,” Taylor said in court. “But I’m happy to still be here. I hope you don’t show him any remorse, because he’s not showing any remorse.”
Wheeler-Weaver, 25, sat motionless as the judge sentenced him in Newark’s state court.
ABC News notes that throughout the proceedings, Wheeler-Weaver denied responsibility, telling Superior Court Judge Mark S. Ali that he was framed.
“I do feel sympathy for the victims,” he stated. “My heart goes out to their family and friends. However, I was not the person who committed these crimes.”
The judge dismissed Wheeler-Weaver’s claims by highlighting the testimonies from more than 40 witnesses, along with DNA samples from Butler’s fingernails.
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Assistant Essex County Prosecutor Adam Wells noted Wednesday that the killings were separated by weeks, giving Wheeler-Weaver a chance to contemplate his actions before killing again.
“The defendant believed these victims were disposable. They were killed and then he went on about 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 the night of Aug. 31, 2016, and was killed within the next few hours, prosecutors said. They alleged Wheeler-Weaver dumped her body in an abandoned house not far from his own house in Orange, near Newark, and set the house on fire. It took about two weeks to identify her remains.
West’s mother, Anita Mason, described a sometimes-headstrong young woman who often showed a softer side.
“I will never forget her smile, her face, her walk, her desire to help homeless people,” Mason said Wednesday. “The world focuses on the last month of her life. She had a whole entire life before her demise. Hundreds of people were affected by her life and were saddened by her death.”
Butler’s father, Victor, asked the judge to give Wheeler-Weaver the “longest maximum sentence.”
“And I hope that he lives for a very long time and they make him suffer every night in there like he made our girl suffer,” he stated before glaring at Weaver. “I hope you suffer, boy, every night.”
Correction, 10/8/21 8:05 a.m.: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the relationship between a victim’s father and Wheeler-Weaver. The story has been updated.