Serial killer who murdered Montclair woman indicted in 4th slaying
Khalil Wheeler-Weaver, a serial killer convicted of using dating apps to lure and kill a Montclair resident and two other North Jersey women in 2016, has been indicted on another murder charge, the slaying of a 15-year-old girl, the acting Essex County county prosecutor, announced Thursday, Oct. 13.
Wheeler-Weaver, who was sentenced last year to 160 years in prison for the three 2016 murders, was charged earlier this year in the 2016 slaying of 15-year-old Mawa Doumbia of Newark.
The grand jury handed up the indictment recently, Theodore N. Stephens II, the county prosecutor, said in a news release. Wheeler-Weaver is scheduled to be arraigned on Oct. 21.
In addition to the murder charge, the Essex County grand jury included counts of attempted sexual assault of a minor, endangering the welfare of a child and desecration of human remains.
Doumbia’s remains were found in April 2019 at a carriage house in Orange, the prosecutor’s office said earlier this year. An autopsy found that she had been killed by ligature strangulation. In November last year, the remains were identified as Doumbia. Her family had reported her missing in October 2016.
"Following an investigation involving extensive digital evidence, it was determined that on Oct. 7, 2016, Wheeler-Weaver met the young girl online and solicited her to meet him in person for sex," the prosecutor's office wrote in an announcement earlier this year. "It is alleged that he traveled to the area of her residence then to the murder scene where he strangled her to death and left her remains concealed within the vacant building."
The pattern was similar to the killings – all in the fall of 2016 – for which Wheeler-Weaver has been convicted. He contacted the women through dating apps, arranged to meet them, then killed them.
In late 2019, a jury took less than three hours to convict Wheeler-Weaver of three counts of murder in the deaths of Sarah Butler, 20, of Montclair; Robin West, 19, of Union Township; and Joanne Brown, 33 of Newark.
Wheeler-Weaver was also convicted of kidnapping and aggravated sexual assault, desecration of human remains, aggravated arson and the attempted murder of a 34-year-old woman, Tiffany Taylor, who survived his attack.
At his sentencing in October 2021, he insisted that he was innocent and said he had been set up.
Butler, a student at Jersey City University, was killed on Nov. 22, 2016, the day before Thanksgiving, authorities have said. Her body was found in Eagle Rock Reservation in West Orange on Dec. 1, 2016.
Brown, of Newark, was slain on Oct. 22, 2016. Her body was found in a vacant home in Orange on Dec. 5, 2016.
West, a native of Philadelphia who was living in Union Township, was killed on Sept. 1, 2016 in Orange. Wheeler-Weaver set fire to her body then torched the vacant home, prosecutors say.
Days before Butler’s death, Wheeler-Weaver had used his phone to search for information on date-rape drugs, NorthJersey.com reported in 2019, citing testimony and evidence presented in his trial. He then sent a text message to Butler, offering her $500 for sex, the report says.
She replied, according to the report: “Wow. You’re not a serial killer, right?”
At the trial, prosecutors described how Wheeler-Weaver sought out information on creating drugs to knock people unconscious, using household cleaners to make poisons, and deleting evidence of his online searches, according to multiple reports.
A GoFundMe campaign formed in December 2016 to support Butler’s family recounts how for two weeks, friends, family and community members searched in and around Montclair for Butler.
“We have lost a beloved member of our family and there are no words for the pain and sorrow that we feel,” organizer Elaine Wynn wrote. “Sarah was a happy, caring and kind young lady who was adored by her family and friends. A freshman in college, Sarah loved to dance and was a lifeguard for the YMCA. Sarah shined a light on this world that we will never be able to replicate or replace.”
The prosecutor’s office had credited friends of Butler for helping catch Wheeler-Weaver, the Associated Press reports. The friends set up a fake social media account, lured Wheeler-Weaver to a meeting in Montclair and notified law enforcement, it says.