Gov. Northam to testify at Hadsell murder trial

Published 7:27 pm Friday, January 24, 2020

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On Thursday in Southampton County Circuit Court, Judge L. Wayne Farmer granted attorney James Ellenson’s request to compel Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam to appear as a witness in the trial of Wesley Hadsell, which is scheduled to begin on Monday, Feb. 24.

Hadsell, 40, of Norfolk, is accused of murdering his adopted stepdaughter, Anjelica “A.J.” Hadsell, nearly five years ago. According to court documents, Ellenson, who is the older Hadsell’s attorney, petitioned the judge to allow the subpoena on the grounds that Northam, prior to becoming governor, was a physician who practiced in Norfolk, and who had prescribed to A.J. the anti-depressent notriptyline, also known by the brand name Pamelor.

“It has previously been stated by [A.J.’s] mother, that AJ Hadsell, the deceased in the case at bar, had no history of depression, yet that is clearly not true,” Ellenson writes. “The medical records of AJ Hadsell have been subpoenaed, and Dr. Northam was her treating physician. Coupled with the journal notes attached hereto as well as other evidence to be adduced at trial, it would be reasonable for the jury to assume that the deceased committed suicide, and thus negating the accusation of murder.”

As previously reported, A.J., a freshman at Longwood University in Farmville, had been on spring break at the time of her disappearance on March 3, 2015. The search first took Norfolk police and a dive team to a pond off Walters Highway (U.S. Route 258) and Joyners Bridge Road in Isle of Wight County on April 4, 2015. Within the week, Norfolk police came to Southampton County and told the Sheriff’s Office of a body found outside a house on the 34000 block of Smith’s Ferry Road (also U.S. Route 258). The body was transported to the medical examiner’s office in Norfolk, where it was positively identified as that of A.J.

Wesley Hadsell, in 2019, pleaded not guilty to all charges, which include first-degree murder, murder, non-capital felony and the concealment of a dead body.

He is scheduled for a pre-trial to begin at 3 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 27, in Southampton County Circuit Court.