Last defendant receives 20-year sentence — (Mobile Press-Register)

SSRI Ed note: Teen, 19, on Prozac is diagnosed bipolar, gets her new boyfriend to kills her childhood friend.

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Mobile Press-Register

September 13, 2007

Author: DAVID FERRARA, Staff Reporter


By DAVID FERRARA, Staff Reporter

Victim had proposed to Nichole Bryars Kelsay in the weeks before killing

BAY MINETTE – Nichole Bryars Kelsay, who pleaded guilty Wednesday to her role in the slaying of her roommate and childhood friend, could be released from prison before she turns 40.

Baldwin County Circuit Court Judge Lang Floyd sentenced Kelsay to 20 years in prison for conspiracy to commit murder. Prosecutors said she plotted the 2004 slaying of 18-year-old Scotty Joe Weaver, who had asked her to marry him in the weeks before he was killed.

With credit for time served in the Baldwin County Corrections Center, Kelsay, who turns 22 next week, would be 38 when her sentence is completed. She will be eligible for parole in six years.

Before court deputies led Kelsay away, the judge allowed Weaver’s mother to speak.

“I want her to answer one question for me,” Martha Weaver said, sobbing. “Why? Why did you do it? You know how much Scotty cared for you. He wouldn’t have took nobody’s life.”

Kelsay, with long brown hair that hung over part of a face pale from spending the last three years in prison, didn’t respond and barely spoke at all during a brief hearing Wednesday morning.

“There ain’t a night that goes by that I don’t think of what y’all done,” Martha Weaver said. “I can’t understand how y’all could’ve done something like that to him.”

Kelsay became the last of three to plead guilty in connection with Weaver’s murder, and she received the lightest sentence. Prosecutors alleged that Weaver was strangled, beaten, stabbed and burned, and that his killers were motivated in part by the fact that he was gay.

The other motivations: money and jealousy.

Kelsay had asked her then-boyfriend Christopher Ryan Gaines to kill Weaver, according to prosecutors, and she watched as Gaines and another man, Robert Holly Lofton Porter, choked Weaver with rope. Gaines and Porter picked up $10 that had fallen from Weaver’s pockets as he struggled inside his own home, according to court records.

The killers took another $80 as Weaver lay dying, prosecutors said.

Gaines, 23, pleaded guilty earlier this year to capital murder and was ordered to life in prison without parole. Last week, Porter, 21, pleaded guilty to intentional murder and first-degree robbery and received two life sentences.

Prosecutors said Gaines and Kelsay started to plan Weaver’s death after he proposed to Kelsay. Porter told investigators that he didn’t like Weaver’s lifestyle, and that’s why he joined in the crime.

A few months before the July 2004 slaying, Weaver had invited Kelsay and her infant son to stay with him in his south Bay Minette trailer. Kelsay and Weaver had became friends in first grade, his family said.

Gaines, who started dating Kelsay around May of the same year, decided to stay at the trailer, too. Porter, who Gaines met in juvenile detention years prior, sometimes crashed at the trailer when Weaver wasn’t home.

According to an investigation report, Kelsay suffers from occasional seizures and takes Prozac and Depakote, which treat bipolar disorder. She dropped out of Baldwin County High School in ninth grade, the report states, and told investigators, “I don’t understand school.”

She isn’t sure who is the father of her child, according to an interview that Gaines gave to the Press-Register after his plea.

Kelsay, whose maiden name is Bryars and sometimes goes by her middle name Stephanie, was married to Michael Kelsay in January 2004. A few days after the marriage, he turned himself in to police on a robbery charge. A year later, he filed from jail for divorce.

A judge issued a decree to dissolve the marriage, but the papers still have not been signed.


Courtesy Justin Toth

Scotty Joe Weaver, right, is shown with Nichole Bryars Kelsay in this undated photo. Kelsay was sentenced to 20 years in prison for conspiracy to commit Weaver’s murder .

Martha Weaver

“Why did you do it? You know how much Scotty cared for you.”

Record Number: MERLIN_5509723
Copyright 2007, Press-Register. All Rights Reserved. Used by NewsBank with Permission.

Last defendant receives 20-year sentence