BEDFORD - A Bedford County jury delivered a mixed verdict Wednesday for Stephen Weaver, who was accused of assaulting two teenaged girls.
Weaver, 55, was found guilty on one count each of rape and involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and 20 counts of indecent assault. He was found not guilty on 320 other charges.
The jury deliberated about six hours before returning its verdict.
Weaver was accused of assaulting the girls, then ages 14 and 16. He showed no obvious emotion after the verdict as he talked with his defense attorney, Thomas Crawford.
The girls - and several jurors - openly cried about the verdict.
At the day's start, Weaver took the stand in his own defense, calmly explaining that his long relationship with a teenage relative was consensual from the outset.
"She started to kiss me and hug me, and it went from there," he told the jury.
Dressed in a black suit, black shirt and dark tie, his hands clasped, Weaver detailed the sexual encounters that took place regularly for months - perhaps years - including one during a family trip to Chambersburg.
Weaver remained calm throughout District Attorney Bill Higgins' cross-examination, acknowledging that his sexual relationship was shameful but fighting claims that he exercised emotional control over the alleged victims.
His accusers watched throughout the lengthy cross-examination; one looked closely, stone-faced, while the other cried and looked frequently to the ground.
"It was generally her idea," Weaver said of his sexual encounters with the first accuser.
As in previous days, the trial was at times bogged down by tangential disputes - after Weaver's defense attorney suggested the alleged victims lied about guns in his house, Higgins had sheriff's deputies arrange the defendant's eight rifles, shotguns and pistols around the witness stand.
In his closing statement, Crawford attributed the hundreds of charges to a conspiracy including Weaver's soon-to-be ex-wife, her boyfriend and the alleged victims, all of whom, he claims, wanted to take his possessions for themselves while he sat in jail.
"[The wife] started a campaign to destroy Stephen. To get him arrested, to get him out of the house, so she ... could take everything out of the house," he said.
Weaver's wife was jealous of his sexual relationship with the first alleged victim, Crawford said - as was the second alleged victim, with whom he had only brief and limited sexual contact.
"She was enraged by jealousy and driven by avarice," Crawford said.
Throughout the trial, the defense cited descriptions of the accusers and their family carrying furniture and electronics from Weaver's house.
Higgins mocked the suggestion in his closing arguments.
"There's the real victim here," he said sarcastically, gesturing toward the defendant. "The victim of seduction, Stephen Weaver."
Citing defense witnesses' repeated claims that a big-screen TV was missing from Weaver's home after a police siege, Higgins mocked the idea that the alleged victims' stories were fabricated out of greed.
"These girls would put themselves through hell ... to get their hands on a 55-inch TV," he said.
Because the alleged victims, now in their 20s, were then 16 and legally able to consent, Higgins stressed Weaver's position of power and authority as the means by which he got them to agree to have sex.
He was their sole breadwinner, the provider of shelter and the enforcer of house rules, Higgins said.
Sentencing, after an expected Megan's Law evaluation, could occur in 60 to 90 days.
Mirror Staff Writer Ryan Brown is at 946-7457.