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

Florida student makes racist prom proposal 
Florida student makes racist prom proposal 

There are many inventive ways to ask someone to the prom, but a Florida teenager is being criticized after he used a racist sign to invite his girlfriend. The sign created by Noah Crowley, 18, of Sarasota, read “If I was black, I’d be picking cotton, but I’m white, so I’m picking u 4 prom,” the Herald-Tribune of Sarasota...
Study: Even mild head injuries increase risk of Parkinson's disease
Study: Even mild head injuries increase risk of Parkinson's disease

Even mild head injuries dramatically increase an individual's risk of developing Parkinson's disease, according to a new large-scale study on veterans. The new research, published this month in the academic journal Neurology, looked at data collected from 325,870 former members of the U.S. military ranging from 31 to 65 years of age. Researchers...
The sour truth about artificial sweeteners
The sour truth about artificial sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners are used by many people trying to lose weight. They’re often touted as ‘healthy’ by food and beverage companies – but guess again. Recent research links these chemical sugar substitutes to weight gain, heart disease and diabetes. So, how can something with zero calories lead to obesity and disease? “It...
Man arrested after SWAT standoff at La Quinta Inn; no weapon found, police say
Man arrested after SWAT standoff at La Quinta Inn; no weapon found, police say

8:05 a.m. update: Austin police have arrested a man who had threatened to shoot anyone who approached him in a North Austin hotel bathroom. SWAT officers used pepper spray to force the man to surrender, police said. A police spokesman said officers did not find a weapon at the scene. Police said the man entered the La Quinta Inn and Suites near the...
FORECAST: Sunny, hot Tuesday with high of 87; chance of rain Wednesday
FORECAST: Sunny, hot Tuesday with high of 87; chance of rain Wednesday

Tuesday forecast for Austin: Break out the shades because an unseasonably warm sunny day is in store for us, the National Weather Service says, as Central Texas temperatures are expected to reach the upper 80s. In Austin, temperatures will approach 87 degrees with south-southeast winds from the Gulf arriving in the afternoon, forecasters say. The balmy...
More Stories