October 19, 2020 | By Kasey Kuhrts & Project: Cold Case Staff
This story is part of a collaborative project between Project: Cold Case and a University of North Florida Journalism class. The student credited above wrote this story as a class project.
James Marlowe Weaver was a generous, kind, and helpful Navy veteran who loved his family more than anything.
James grew up in Louisiana as the youngest of six children. Their mother, Annie Mae, died when James was just 13. He and one sister were the only two left in the home, as the other four children had moved out at that point.
The Weaver siblings were all very close, and James was especially close with his older brother, Richard. Richard and James were in the Navy at the same time, and James even lived with Richard when they were stationed together. June Weaver, Richard’s wife, said, “He was always around. I would see him every day. He was always just there.”
James lived with Richard and June in Charleston, South Carolina. There, June gave birth to their first child. June tells the story of the day James decided to cut his newborn niece’s fingernails. “He clipped the end of her finger and it bled like crazy. I was all over him!” she said with a hearty laugh.
After his time in the Navy, James and his wife moved to Fleetwood Mobile Home & RV Park in Jacksonville, Florida. The Weavers would live in the park while James worked as the park manager.
Family was everything to James according to June. He loved nothing more than spending time with his family. It didn’t take much to make James and his family happy. He would often ride four-wheelers with his kids or sit around the house simply enjoying the quality time together.
That quality family time would come to an end on May 26, 1985.
James and his wife were babysitting their 9-month-old grandson that night. Mrs. Weaver fell ill during the night, and the couple’s oldest daughter drove her to the hospital. When they returned in the morning, the two women discovered James lying on the floor in a pool of his own blood.
According to investigators at the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, the suspect entered the Weaver home by opening a window and reaching through to unlock the door. Despite the blunt force trauma determination, police were never able to locate the weapon.
Investigators believe that robbery was the motive, as a few items were stolen from the home, including $300 from the safe in the manager’s office.
The grandchild, thankfully, was left unharmed and was still asleep in his crib when the women returned from the hospital.
“There could’ve potentially been two homicides that same day,” Detective Ray Reaves told Action News Jax in 2018.
Fleetwood Mobile Home & RV Park is in the same location on Phillips Highway today. The name remains the same all these years later. In fact, the current park office is the very trailer that James Weaver was murdered in.
June Weaver doesn’t remember exactly how she found out the news about her brother-in-law, but she remembered being at home and how it made her husband Richard feel. “He was heartbroken, just destroyed,” she said.
With more than three decades passing since James’s murder, much of the Weaver family has died. His beloved brother Richard passed away in October of 2018. In an interview with Action News Jax, Richard told reporter Lorena Inclan that having his brother’s case would mean “everything in the world.”
Richard also stated “there’s only two of us left – myself and my older sister. All the rest of them have passed on.”
The memory of an American Naval soldier is now left to his surviving family. The weight of grieving her husband’s death along with now carrying the torch for getting her brother-in-law justice clearly weighs on June.
“I wish there was some more help,” June said. “A lot of times I don’t remember anything.”
There aren’t many Weavers remaining. There aren’t many family members that knew James Marlowe Weaver left. The memory of a life well-lived is fading.
Who will continue to fight for justice in this cold case? In the 1,500 cases in Jacksonville, Florida? Or the 250,000 unsolved cases in the country?
“I won’t give up because I know Richard wouldn’t give up. As long as I can, I will continue on
If you have any information on the unsolved murder of James Marlowe Weaver, please call the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office at (904) 630-0500. To remain anonymous and possibly be eligible for a $3,000 reward, call First Coast Crime Stoppers at (866) 845-TIPS.
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