Hadsell sentenced to life plus 15 years in killing of stepdaughter

Published 6:17 pm Monday, April 4, 2022

Wesley Paul Hadsell was sentenced Monday, April 4, in Southampton Circuit Court to life plus 15 years for the first-degree murder of his stepdaughter Anjelica “A.J.” Hadsell, the concealment of her dead body and the prisoner possession of a Schedule III controlled substance.

Wesley Paul Hadsell

A jury found Hadsell guilty of first-degree murder and concealment of a dead body Feb. 7 following a two-week trial in Southampton Circuit Court.

Hadsell, 43, was formally charged on Jan. 14, 2019, with the first-degree murder of A.J. Hadsell on March 3, 2015. Related to the case, he was also charged with murder — non-capital felony, and concealment of a dead body. 

He pleaded not guilty to all of these charges.

The commonwealth ultimately chose to pursue the first-degree murder and concealment of a dead body charges.

A.J. was a freshman on spring break from Longwood University in Farmville at the time of her disappearance in 2015. 

The search took Norfolk Police investigators 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 Southampton County Sheriff’s Office of a body found outside a house in the 34000 block of Smiths Ferry Road/U.S. 258. The body was taken to the medical examiner’s office in Norfolk, where it was positively identified as that of A.J. Hadsell.

After his arrest on the aforementioned charges, Hadsell was charged with, as a prisoner, possessing the Schedule III controlled substance Suboxone. Hadsell did ultimately plead guilty to this charge.

During the sentencing hearing April 4, sentencing guidelines for Hadsell were described as being 42 years and 2 months on the low end, 70 years and 3 months on the high end, and 56 years and 2 months at the midpoint. 

The commonwealth argued that given Hadsell’s significant criminal history, which includes bank robbery and burglary, and the circumstances of the present case, the guidelines were not adequate.

Both Southampton County Commonwealth’s Attorney Eric A. Cooke and Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Toni M. Colvin argued that Hadsell be sentenced to life for the charge of first-degree murder, five years for the charge of concealment of a dead body, and 10 years for the charge of prisoner possession of a Schedule III controlled substance.

Southampton Circuit Court Judge Lawson Wayne Farmer agreed with this sentencing.