Gov. Northam subpoenaed to testify in murder trial


SOUTHAMPTON COUNTY, Va. (WAVY) — Gov. Ralph Northam will be subpoenaed to testify at the trial of Wesley Hadsell, the man accused of murdering his stepdaughter, Anjelica “AJ” Hadsell.

Defense lawyers for Hadsell filed the motion to subpoena Northam on Thursday in Southampton County court.

A Southampton County judge granted the defense’s request to put the governor on the stand.

Northam, who is also a pediatric neurologist, was AJ Hadsell’s doctor. Court documents show Northam prescribed AJ anti-depressants two months before she disappeared in March 2015 on spring break from Longwood University.

Investigators found her body a month later behind an abandoned home in Southampton County and a medical examiner ruled she died as a result of homicidal violence and acute heroin poisoning.

The defense says Northam’s testimony about AJ’s mental health leading up to her disappearance and death is crucial for the trial. Hadsell’s lawyers argued the anti-depressants along with journal entries of AJ’s show the teen may have been suicidal. 

In court, the commonwealth’s attorney argued AJ’s medical records at Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters show the medicine Northam prescribed at that time was for headaches, not for depression.

This trial is set to take place at the end of February, while the General Assembly is in session in Richmond.

The judge clarified that, while the courts cannot subpoena a lieutenant governor or members of the state legislature during session, they can subpoena a sitting governor during session because he doesn’t vote.

The second motion the defense filed Thursday was to suppress evidence found through a search warrant of a Norfolk hotel room.

The judge said the evidence was too important to the trial to make a decision Thursday, and set a date of a separate hearing to look at that matter for this coming Monday.

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