Navy veteran, husband, and father beaten to death and left in a pool of his own blood.
It’s what happened to 38-year-old James Weaver in his own home while he was babysitting his 9-month-old grandson.
Weaver and his wife moved to Fleetwood Mobile Home & RV Park on Philips Highway after he retired from the Navy. It’s also where he worked as the manager.
On May 26, 1985 he was violently attacked.
Detective Ray Reeves of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Cold Case Unit has now taken over the case.
“It was blunt force trauma to the head,” Reeves said.
The murder weapon was never located.
Photos from the scene in 1985 show a ransacked office, a phone left off the hook and a safe. It also shows the back door that had louvered windows.
Tonight at 5:45 on CBS47, we investigate the murder of James Weaver. A Navy Veteran & local father who was beat to death in his home while his infant grandson was in the next room. YOU could hold the key to solving this case, don't miss our next #coldcase story @ActionNewsJax https://t.co/0iibNJbM6g— Lorena Inclán (@LorenaANjax) April 25, 2018
Reeves said the killer got in by opening the window and unlocking the door from the outside.
“There was some cash that was in the cash boxes in the manager’s office they were opened,” Reeves said.
About $300 was stolen, along with other items from the safe.
Weaver’s body was discovered by his wife and her daughter, who had left earlier that night to go to the hospital after Weaver’s wife felt sick.
The baby who was left in Weaver’s care was still sleeping in his crib when they returned he was unharmed.
“There could’ve potentially been two homicides that same day,” Reeves said.
The mobile home park still bears the same name to this day and the home where Weaver lived still stands but is now an office.
The crime scene is effectively gone, making it challenging for detectives working the case today.
Navy veteran, husband, and father beaten to death over some cash. Do you know who killed him? Watch @actionnewsjax at 5:45 as we cover our latest #coldcase on the 1985 James Weaver murder @projectcoldcase pic.twitter.com/XdQqIwB8yg— Lorena Inclán (@LorenaANjax) April 25, 2018
However, there was something found on Weaver’s body that was out of place and it could be key.
“There would’ve been no reason for him to have that piece of evidence on his body to be left there at the scene,” Reeves said. The person whose DNA "matches up will have some explaining to do for sure.”
Reeves would not elaborate on what that evidence is because it’s something only the potential killer would know.
JSO is also looking to track down six people who still need to be interviewed, including someone who got into an argument with Weaver earlier that afternoon.
“We also have some DNA evidence that was collected at that time some swabs and potentially some lift cards or latent fingerprints,” Reeves said.
Action News Jax reached out to Weaver’s older brother who lives in Louisiana. He’s thankful someone is still looking into his brother’s case after all these years.
🎧 Listen to the full interviews from our latest #ColdCase on our #podcast. We spoke with JSO, @projectcoldcase, and the brother of James Weaver who was beaten to death in 1985. Learn about the key piece of evidence found on the victim's body that could solve the case. https://t.co/XLcRW3rWQo— Lorena Inclán (@LorenaANjax) April 25, 2018
“We’d just like to know that something was done or that everything that could be done was done,” said Richard Weaver.
Nearly 33 years after Weaver’s murder, JSO believes it’s getting closer to the truth.
“The victims and their families deserve a resolution,” Reeves said.
The Weaver case will be presented before the Florida Sheriff’s Association Cold Case Advisory Commission in June.
The commission is made up of subject matter submitted to experts from across the state who come together every quarter to brainstorm ways to solve unresolved homicides.
If you have any information that could lead to an arrest on this case or any other cold case call CrimeStoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS.
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