You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myStatesman.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myStatesman.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myStatesman.com.

DA: No plea offer to suspected Haruka Weiser killer


Highlights

Meechaiel Criner, who was 17 at the time of the crime, faces life in prison if convicted.

His murder trial is set for August, at the earliest.

Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore won’t offer a plea deal to a teen accused in the death of University of Texas freshman Haruka Weiser nearly a year ago, the DA has told the American-Statesman.

In an interview, Moore said she thinks it is necessary to take 18-year-old Meechaiel Criner to trial in the death of Weiser, who was found dead on the UT campus in April.

“We want a trial, and we aren’t going to plea bargain it,” she said. “I think Haruka Weiser’s killer deserves punishment to the fullest extent of the law.”

Prosecutors frequently offer plea deals to defendants in some violent crime cases, sparing victims’ families from a lengthy trial.

Criner’s trial was initially set for this month, but state District Judge David Wahlberg has since moved it to August, at the earliest.

Criner attorney Ariel Payan said Thursday afternoon that his client is not interested in a plea offer.

“His position has been that he didn’t do it,” he said.

Because he was 17 years old at the time of the 18-year-old University of Texas student’s death, Criner isn’t eligible for the death penalty, but he faces life in prison if convicted. He had originally been charged with murder, but the capital murder charge includes the other offenses he is alleged to have committed during the crime.

In addition to sexual assault, the indictment accuses Criner of kidnapping and robbing Weiser. Criner’s arrest affidavit said he was found while burning items in an abandoned building, and some of those items, such as college coursework, likely belonged to Weiser.

Police have said Criner attacked Weiser, a theater and dance major from Portland, Ore., as she was walking to her campus dormitory. Her body was found more than a day later by Waller Creek behind the UT alumni center, near San Jacinto Boulevard and East 23rd Street.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Census: Austin metro hits 2 million mark again, this time for real
Census: Austin metro hits 2 million mark again, this time for real

Perhaps the balloons and confetti fell a little too early last year when the Austin metro area celebrated surpassing 2 million residents. Turns out, after some routine revisions to the U.S. Census Bureau data, Austin actually hit that milestone later than originally thought, according to new numbers released Thursday. Specifically, the five-county...
UPDATED: Dozens hold vigil calling lawmakers to save Obamacare
UPDATED: Dozens hold vigil calling lawmakers to save Obamacare

10:25 p.m. update:  Roughly 80 people gathered Wednesday in front of University Medical Center Brackenridge to urge their federal lawmakers to vote no Thursday on a bill that would repeal and replace Obamacare.The vigil was one of many across Central Texas to call on lawmakers to save the Affordable Care Act. The event was organized...
JUST IN: Man may have tried to impersonate an officer while pulling driver over, Hays County deputies say
JUST IN: Man may have tried to impersonate an officer while pulling driver over, Hays County deputies say

Investigators are looking for someone who may have been impersonating a police officer while attempting to pull someone over in Hays County. On Thursday night, a woman reported that she was driving with a friend on FM 2001 near Goforth Road in Kyle when a light-colored Chevrolet pickup truck with damage to its front left quarter panel activated red-and-blue...
Murder suspect out on bond after DA fails to take case to grand jury

A murder suspect who authorities believe has deep ties to the Crips street gang is out on bond because Travis County prosecutors didn’t take his case to a grand jury in the time required by state law. On Monday, state District Judge Brad Urrutia released Joseph Sterling, 28, on a personal bond that cost the defendant about $40. Law mandates a...
UPDATE: Hays High School student dead, 2 others seriously injured after crash near Buda, officials say
UPDATE: Hays High School student dead, 2 others seriously injured after crash near Buda, officials say

9:10 p.m. update: School district officials have identified the Hays High School sophomore who died in a two-vehicle crash near Buda Wednesday afternoon as Brynn Aylor, 16.  Aylor was killed after a crash in the 2600 block of Jack C. Hays Trail, officials said. Two women who were traveling in the other vehicle involved were seriously injured and...
More Stories