Parents of murder victim: ‘You messed with the wrong girl’

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A 23-year-old man from Orange has been convicted for the murder of three women and the attempted murder of a fourth woman.

A jury convicted Khalil Wheeler-Weaver Friday for the 2016 murders.

Essex County Prosecutor Theodore Stephens says that Wheeler-Weaver did not think that the women’s lives mattered – that the women would not be missed. But Stephens says that this is wrong and that the women’s families helped to locate the killer.

Officials say that Wheeler-Weaver arranged sexual encounters the victims: Joanne Brown, Robin West and Sarah Butler. But they say that Wheeler-Weaver strangled them instead. A fourth woman was able to escape.

RELATED: NJ man convicted of killing 3 women, attempted murder of 4th 

Butler’s parents attended Monday’s event with the prosecutor to honor their daughter. Mother Laverne Butler said that her daughter’s killer “messed with the wrong girl.”

“She loved to dance. She loved to swim. You took that away from her. She’ll never get a chance again to teach kids how to swim, teach them how to dance,” Laverne Butler said.

Butler’s father expressed the grief that has followed the family the last three years – especially during the holiday season.

“We didn’t even put up a Christmas tree because there was no joy in it. It’s going to take some time,” said Victor Butler.

Officials say that Wheeler-Weaver hid Butler’s body at the Eagle Rock Reservation in West Orange.

Stephens says that investigators could build a solid case against Wheeler-Weaver due to their ability to trace his phone and where he was. The surviving victim’s testimony was also instrumental.

Wheeler-Weaver did not testify. He has yet to be sentenced.

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