The 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.
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!
(sister of Mark Weiner)