The brutal murder of a young mother shocked everyone in the deeply conservative Amish community of Apple Creek, Ohio. In June 2009, Barbara Weaver was found dead in her home, leading to an extensive inquiry into what happened. Shockingly, all leads pointed to her husband’s involvement, and his personal life came under the scanner. Investigation Discovery’s ‘Murder in Amish Country: The Amish Stud’ as well as Lifetime’s ‘Amish Stud: The Eli Weaver’ chronicles how the police eventually brought Barbara’s killers to justice. So, let’s find out what happened, shall we?
How Did Barbara Weaver Die?
Barbara D. Weaver was born in February 1979 and lived most of her life in Apple Creek. She married Eli Weaver in May 1999, and the couple had five children together. The 30-year-old was a respected member of the community and was described as a soft-spoken and beloved woman who was kind to her children. But on the morning of June 2, 2009, one of the children woke up to make a horrific discovery.
Barbara was found unresponsive in her bed, and the child rushed to a neighbor who called 911. The authorities arrived to find Barbara dead from a single gunshot wound to the chest; it was from a .410-gauge shotgun. Robbery was ruled out as a motive since there were no signs of forced entry and money in plain view was untouched. Soon, the authorities’ attention turned to her husband, Eli, since he wasn’t at home.
Who Killed Barbara Weaver?
At the time, Eli was on a fishing trip with some friends and said that he’d last seen his wife at around 3 a.m. that morning. While his friends backed up his alibi, the authorities learned a few disturbing things as they dug deeper into the Weavers’ marriage. Barbara’s sister told the police that Eli had been unfaithful in the past. He had left the marriage at least twice to live with women who weren’t Amish but returned after the community elders let him in.
The authorities also learned of Eli’s online activity, where he had been in conversation with several women. He was cheating on Barbara with multiple women simultaneously. During some of these conversations, he’d talked about being unhappy in the marriage, and then, a string of women came forward to tell officials that he’d spoken about having his wife killed. Through Barbara’s loved ones, investigators also learned about another woman named Barbara Raber. She and Eli had known each other for a decade and had been in a relationship for about six years.
Barbara Raber, formerly of the Amish community, was a married mother of three. Locally, she was known as the taxi lady and later confessed to having an affair with Eli. However, she claimed that it ended about six months before the incident. However, the discovery of Eli’s secret cellphone painted an entirely different picture. Messages between the two showed that the two were still seeing each other, and the phone was registered in her name.
In fact, Eli and Raber had even talked about getting rid of Barbara. They’d considered poisoning, medication, as well as blowing up the house while their kids were still in it. Eli indicated the kids would go to heaven because they were innocent. It was then that Eli left her directions regarding where to park her car before noting the garage door was unlocked. Moreover, Raber’s search history revealed that she’d specifically looked up poisons, gases, and ways to “get rid of someone.”
After being arrested, she claimed she’d gone to the Weavers’ home at around 4:30 AM but had only intended to scare Barbara – the gun went off accidentally. She added, “I never intended for anything to happen, but when it did, it was, like, ‘Oh crap.'” Later, Raber changed her story, claiming she had no memory of ever being in the Weavers’ residence. Furthermore, a voicemail left for Eli on June 3 said, “Eli, you can run, but you can’t hide. We’ll get you. Obviously, we made a mistake last night.” Yet, Raber’s friend later testified that he had left the voicemail because Raber asked him to. A gun store owner also testified that Raber had bought a .410-gauge shotgun in November 2008.
Where Are Eli Weaver and Barbara Raber Now?
In the end, Eli pleaded guilty to complicity to commit murder in August 2009 and agreed to testify against his lover, Barbara Raber. In September 2009, then 29, he was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison. Records indicate that he remains incarcerated at the Grafton Correctional Institution in Lorain County, Ohio. He will be eligible for parole in June 6, 2024.
At Raber’s trial, the defense claimed Eli was a manipulator as well as the killer. Nevertheless, she was eventually found guilty of aggravated murder. In October 2009, then about 39, she was sentenced to 23 years to life behind bars. Therefore, as per prison records, she is currently serving her time at the Ohio Reformatory for Women in Marysville, Ohio. She will be eligible for parole on June 4, 2032.
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