Justice denied: An open letter from Mark Weiner’s sister

| July 15, 2014 | 10 Comments

Schilling-Show-70s-Logo-150x150The case of Mark Weiner, accused and recently convicted of abduction with intent to defile, has caught the attention of justice advocates across America. While capricious Albemarle County Commonwealth’s Attorney, Denise Lunsford, is standing by her conviction, flimsy evidence and allegations of prosecutorial misconduct are casting credible doubt on Weiner’s current legal status.

Mark Weiner, who could face a jury-recommended 20 years in prison, is scheduled for sentencing on July 22.

Following is an open letter from Mark Weiner’s sister, Marlene Deaton:

I was taught that in America, a person was considered innocent until proven guilty. How wrong I was!

Mark Weiner was not accorded this basic right. Mark was treated as guilty by Albemarle County, VA Prosecutor Denise Lunsford; who, in a quest to pursue her own agenda, used taxpayer dollars to wrongly convict an innocent man.

Charged with “Felony Abduction with intent to Defile” in December 2012, the only “evidence” was the ranting text messages Chelsea Steiniger (Spina) sent to her boyfriend. Based only on these fabricated text messages, Mark (who has no prior criminal history) has been incarcerated for over 18 months and not allowed out on bail.

Further investigation proved there was no evidence-physical or otherwise- to link him to the cell phone used to send the texts – this is a cruel hoax Steiniger committed. She had no physical marks anywhere and no trauma to her airway from an alleged inhalant supposedly administered to knock her out. The cell phone records subpoenaed by the Prosecutor prove that Chelsea’s cellphone was never at the abandoned house but at her mother’s apartment, which is what Mark testified to under oath. These records show Steiniger calling and texting her boyfriend—in addition to retrieving and deleting the voicemail message from 911— all during the time she testified her cell phone was dead.

Lunsford knew this was false testimony and yet she allowed her only witness to commit perjury. To protect herself from the charge of prosecutorial misconduct and a mistrial due to perjured testimony, Lunsford had the cell phone records and her own experts—who were going to testify on behalf of the defense—disqualified.

Unbelievable!

Yet, this is justice according to Judge Cheryl Higgins. At a hearing asking that the verdict be thrown out and Mark be granted a new trial or released, the Judge said that his innocence did not matter.

Mark is now facing a sentence of 20 years in prison for a crime that never occurred, because the jury was not allowed to hear the indisputable facts.

Every citizen of should be afraid! It could be their husband, father, or brother who is wrongly convicted and not given a fair trial! Steiniger complains that her life has been “ruined, because she has been labeled a liar; I’m sure Mark would switch places with her in a minute if only he was given the chance!

 

Signed,

Marlene Deaton
(sister of Mark Weiner)

About the Author:

Rob Schilling is founder of The Schilling Show Blog and News; host of WINA's The Schilling Show, heard weekdays from noon to 2 PM; husband; father; and community watchdog.
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10 Comments on "Justice denied: An open letter from Mark Weiner’s sister"

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  1. Rob Schilling says:

    Mark Weiner's sister speaks out on his wrongful conviction and Denise Lunsford's anti-justice agenda in an exclusive letter to The Schilling Show…

  2. Hopefully the Court of Appeals will reverse this conviction.

  3. Ken says:

    I was taught that in America, a person was considered innocent until proven guilty. How wrong I was! Mark Weiner was not accorded this basic right. Mark was treated as guilty by Albemarle County, VA Prosecutor Denise Lunsford

    I have no idea whether or not the accused is guilty, but this is a very basic logical error. A prosecutor’s job is not to presume innocence but to prove that he or she, having studied the evidence, believes the accused is guilty. Also, Lunsford did not have any evidence disqualified. That is not in her power. If certain facts were disqualified, it can only be because the judge agreed with Lunsford that they should be.

    Whatever the truth is, my prayers go out for Ms. Deaton and her brother. God’s love and will for a person’s life are not hampered by injustice.

  4. Mitchell says:

    My brother, Mark Weiner has been in jail for over 18 months and faces a real possibility of a sentence of 20 years in prison for a crime that he did not commit.

    How is it possible that an obvious lie told by a grown woman in order to garnish attention from her boyfriend can get so far out of control that it ruins so many lives? A young boy has lost his father to a criminal justice system that seems to value a guilty verdict over the truth. A family forced to go bankrupt to pay legal fees. Brothers, sisters, and others helping, all the while sitting speechless and in disbelief; hoping that the criminal justice system will do what is right and the truth will prevail. Yet the truth is not important- Judge Cheryl Higgins declares, “Innocence does not factor here” when asked for a new trial. If innocence is not a factor, where has our system failed us?

    Albemarle County, VA Prosecutor, Denise Lunsford should be held accountable for prosecutorial misconduct. She subpoenaed cell phone records and then had them suppressed so that the jury could not hear evidence that would have proven Mark Weiner’s innocence. Lunsford allowed perjured testimony from her only witness, Chelsea Steiniger, because to her, a guilty verdict was more important than the truth – Lunsford knew the cell phone records could prove that Steiniger was sitting at her mother’s house sending fabricated text messages and not in some “abandoned house” as she testified. Cell phone towers and where they “ping” do not lie – people lie and Steiniger lied. The AT&T cell phone records proved this. Lunsford’s own experts were going to testify on behalf of the Defense, so she had them disqualified. There is no dispute that Mark gave Steiniger a ride home on a very cold winter night. The question becomes does a man lose his freedom to a criminal justice system because he gave someone a ride? A lie was crafted involving a mystery drug which doesn’t exist nor did it show up in any blood tests. Now families are devastated, lives ruined. There was no “Felony Abduction with Intent to Defile”. Steiniger lied and ignored 911 operators’ calls all in an effort to gain attention from her boyfriend. Cell towers and where they “ping” don’t lie, people do and Steiniger did.

  5. Jeff Lepak says:

    This is a cowardly way for our justice system to act. Mark and his family are known to be good citizens in our community. How can we not treat them with fairness? My Congressman has been notified. Has yours?

    Regards
    Jeff Lepak
    Master Sergeant , U.S. Army, Retired

  6. Dorian Janney says:

    How is this possible in the USA? Mr.Weiner has no criminal history and is a good family man- and is kind enough to give a woman a ride to her mother’s house on a cold night. She lies to get her boyfriend jealous and to upset him as he kicked her out of his house- necessitating the need for the ride. The facts- cell phone records, the impossibility of anyone going unconscious after 45 seconds of having a rag with chemicals held on their face, and so on. Yet this innocent man is kept in jail for 18 months?! A travesty of justice and absurdly unacceptable in our country. Free Mark Weiner!

  7. Not A Lib says:

    Ken, I’m surprised that wish to play devil’s advocate in this contrived case. A prosecuting attorney’s job is to represent the government in criminal cases. Lunsford was elected locally to represent the government and people. Yes you state that her job is the prove that “he or she …believes the accused is guilty”. Hogwash! She studied the evidence and decided there was enough evidence to bring charges. That was her first error. After evidence came out that would have likely enonerated the accused, she objected to it. She represented the citizens very poorly in this case. Hopefully, justice will prevail in the appeals court. Unfortunately, true justice would only prevail if she were found guilty of prosecutorial misconduct. She has already proven herself to lack a moral compass. Career above justice, fling over family—> Denise Lunsford.

  8. Ken says:

    Not a Lib, the prosecutor decides whom to prosecute and whom not to prosecute. In other words, she prosecutes people she thinks are guilty and can be proven guilty.

  9. Not A Lib says:

    Ken, do you take issue with the fact that the prosecutor’s job is to represent the citizenry? Suppressed evidence from this case along with the testimony the officers were prepared to give would have cast serious doubt upon this citizen’s guilt. Do you believe he was guilty beyond the shadow of a doubt? Do you really wish to defend the prosecutor in this case? You stated above that her job is to “prove that she believes the accused is ..guilty”. That is contrived and really isn’t her job. This case was a miscarriage of justice. It’s plainly obvious. Your short response indicates to me that you have concerns about this case. You should jump ship on this one. There really is no defense for the prosecutor in this case.

  10. Ken says:

    I have no opinion on whether Weiner is guilty, and I’m not qualified to pass judgment up or down on how Lunsford handled the case. But when Weiner’s sister writes that he was not accorded the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty, she confuses the prosecutor’s job with the judge and jury’s. They are to presume innocence until shown otherwise beyond a reasonable doubt. The prosecutor’s job is to represent the citizenry by prosecuting people whom he or she, having already considered the evidence, believes are guilty.

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