State court denies man’s request for relief of prison term for 2015 shooting at Lancaster funeral

LANCASTER — A South Carolina man serving an 18- to 44-year prison sentence for opening fire at his brother’s funeral in Lancaster in 2015 will not receive a new trial, the Pennsylvania Superior Court ruled this week.

Lovelle Weaver, 38, was convicted of aggravated assault and several other offenses for shooting at a man who was fleeing outside Bethel AME Church on East Strawberry Street on Oct. 7, 2015. The church was the site of the funeral for Weaver’s brother, Jared.

Lovelle Weaver was sentenced to up to 44 years in prison by Lancaster County Judge Margaret Miller.

He filed for relief of the sentence, alleging that the verdict was improper and the sentence excessive.

The Pennsylvania Superior Court denied Weaver’s claims in a 24-page opinion.

Weaver argued a juror should have been disqualified because the juror knew a pastor who testified at trial. The state court determined the juror did not have a “direct, close or familial relationship” with the pastor.

Weaver argued some police testimony and conduct during the investigation was inappropriate. The court determined the testimony and investigation were acceptable.

Weaver argued he should not have been convicted because a witness could not identify him by name. The state court determined such an identification was not necessary, and noted several witnesses provided descriptions of Weaver and knew him to be Jared Weaver’s brother. A detective also recognized Lovelle Weaver from surveillance video of the incident.

The state court also rejected Weaver’s claim that his sentence was excessive.

In all, Weaver was convicted of felony aggravated assault, illegal possession of a firearm, possessing a firearm without a license, and misdemeanor counts of reckless endangerment (five counts) and discharge of a firearm into an occupied structure (home).