Norfolk cops: Weston didn't kill woman in Virginia

Posted: November 04, 2011

LINDA ANN WESTON is not expected to be charged with murder in the 2008 death of a woman in Virginia, police there said yesterday.

Norfolk police spokesman Chris Amos said that a review of Maxine Lee's death, which could be completed today, shows that Lee died of natural causes - specifically bacterial meningitis - as previously ruled.

"We're not going to fabricate something," he said. "There's nothing there. We're not going to charge her with murder."

He said that homicide investigators reviewed the medical examiner's report, previous statements given to police and other paperwork.

Weston, 51, was arrested here Oct. 15 after four mentally disabled adults were found locked and malnourished in a Tacony sub-basement boiler room.

She had been convicted in 1984 of third-degree murder in the starvation death three years earlier of her sister Venus' boyfriend, whom she locked in the sisters' hallway closet for two months.

Maxine Lee grew up in Philadelphia and was 39 when she was found dead Nov. 13, 2008, in a house she shared with Weston and two other women in Norfolk.

On the day Lee died, Weston and the two other women fled the house, landlord Mohammad Zarandi, 54, has said. He said that Weston had told him that she was taking care of her three housemates.

Tracey Lee, Maxine's sister, said yesterday that she was shocked by the Norfolk police findings. "I wasn't expecting to hear that," she said. "There's got to be more to it; there's got to be."

Tracey, 39, previously said that her sister was not disabled. She said that Maxine liked to travel and "drifted in the wrong crowd," and was reported missing by her family in 2006. She said that her sister was cremated in Philadelphia after the family learned of her death.

Zarandi has said that after Weston fled, he found a letter in the house that said: "Linda didn't take good care of the girl. That's why she died." He believes that one of the other women wrote the letter.

But police spokesman Amos said that charging "someone with murder can't be based on a hunch in some letter." Forensic evidence, he said, showed that Lee had died of meningitis.

Zarandi yesterday said that he didn't think the police findings would matter in the long run, given what Weston faces in Philadelphia. "I don't think she's going to see the light of day soon," he said.

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