Senate Judiciary Committee Testimony:  Sara Weaver (Sep. 6, 1995)

Senator SPECTER. For those who have observed Sara in the courtroom today, it has obviously been an extremely painful situation for her, just to see her response as to what happened.

In response to my specific questions, she did say that she had some testimony as to the curtains and as to the location of Mrs. Weaver which I think would be extremely useful, and in discussions with counsel, we have said that if the subcommittee would limit our inquiries to those matters that Sara would be willing to testify. And I have consulted with Senator Kohl and Senator Feinstein, and that is agreeable to the subcommittee, so we would like to proceed at this time to call Sara forward for a few questions, if that is satisfactory.

Please remain standing, cause our procedures require you to take an oath. Do you solemnly swear that the testimony that you will give to this subcommittee will be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you, God?

Ms. WEAVER: Yes.

Senator SPECTER. Please identify yourself by name and residence, and tell us your age.


Ms WEAVER: My name Sara Weaver, and I am 19 years old, and I live in Grand Junction, IA.

Senator SPECTER. Ms. Weaver, you obviously have been present during the proceeding' today and have heard the testimony of your father; correct?

Ms WEAVER: Uh-huh,

Senator SPECTER. When we spoke a few moments ago in the waiting room in the rear, you stated that you had some recollection of what you had observed with respect to the location of the curtains on the windows, which could be important in terms of visibility of Special Agent Horiuchi.

Ms. WEAVER. Yes,

Senator SPECTER. What did you observe on or about August 21— 22, 1992?

Ms. WEAVER. I remember the curtains being pulled back. I mean, they were always pulled back. We never closed them at night. They were always pulled back.

I remember specifically, after my mom was shot, we got her in the house, and the first thing we did was close every curtain in the house because we were scared that they could see in and that they might try shooting at us.  So I specifically remember having to close the curtains on the door.

Senator SPECTER. And when you closed the curtains, what was the condition of the curtain prior to the time you closed it?

Ms. WEAVER. That, I don't remember. I just remember having to close the curtains.

Senator SPECTER. Well, are you certain as to what the status of the curtain was prior to the time you closed the curtains?

Ms. WEAVER. I'm sure they were pulled back farther, especially the one on the right; I'm sure they were pulled back farther than what they are now.

Senator SPECTER. How can you be sure?

Mr. SPENCE. Well, they were pinned back, weren't they?

Ms. WEAVER. Yes, they were pinned. My mom also had blue checkered ties that pulled them back, and then the ties were pinned.

Senator SPECTER. And where were they pinned?

Ms. WEAVER. In the middle of the curtain; and then she always kept the top together, and they were bunched, sort of, at the top and pulled back in the middle.

Senator SPECTER. Do you know where the ties are now? Ms. WEAVER. No, I don't.

Senator SPECTER. And when you say they were pinned together, specifically what do you mean by that?

Ms. WEAVER. They were just little ties, about this long, and they just pulled the curtain back, and then you brought the two ends of the ties together and pinned—

Senator SPECTER. Would you demonstrate on the curtains themselves?

Ms. WEAVER. OK. She always kept them pulled back in the middle, like this. OK. She used little tacks.

Mr. SPENCE. See the tack holes?

Senator FEINSTEIN. Yes, but they would have to be up here if they were pulled back here.

Mr. SPENCE. There are tack holes right there.

Ms. WEAVER. Yes, that's about the approximate.

Senator FEINSTEIN. That's a tack hole?

Ms. WEAVER. Uh-huh.

Senator SPECTER. So you are saying, Ms. Weaver, that this is a tack hole which secured a tie-around?

Ms. WEAVER. Yes. And since we never unhooked them—they always stayed open—there wouldn't be a whole bunch of holes there; would only be one.

Senator FEINSTEIN. These are hard to pull back here.

Ms. WEAVER. Yes. Those stayed. These were—they stayed like that. They always stayed like that.

Senator FEINSTEIN. Those always stayed put.

Senator SPECTER. Well, Ms. Weaver, how do you account for the trajectory of the hole, which is through the curtain and in line with the hole in the glass?

Ms. WEAVER. This one may have been down a little bit farther. My mom always kept them bunched up, like this, in the middle, because she thought it looked nice that way. If you looked at our curtains in the living room

Senator SPECTER. So that they had partially obscured the window, but not totally obscured the window?

Ms. WEAVER. But not to where you couldn't tell who was behind the door.

Senator SPECTER. Well, now, you say not so that you couldn't tell who was behind the door. Why do you say that?

Ms. WEAVER. Well, with a 10-power scope—-I looked through the cameras when I was up on the hill with "Prime Time," and two of their cameramen were built the same and they had the same height, and I could have easily told through that camera lens, which was a 10-power, who was who, easily.

Senator SPECTER. So your statement is that the curtains were pulled back, so that where your mother was standing, she would have been visible?

Ms. WEAVER. And not only that—the instant my dad was shot, my mom came out the door and asked what happened. So, if Horiuchi knew that Kevin, my dad and myself were outside in this other area, then only my mom and my two little sisters were in the house. So he had to have known who came out the door and who was holding it for us to run inside.

Senator SPECTER. And how long was she outside the door before your father and Mr. Harris and you came back in?

Ms. WEAVER. I would say approximately 10 seconds—approximately. I don't know. I mean, everything——

Senator SPECTER. You came up with Mr. Harris and with your father.

Ms. WEAVER. Yes.

Senator SPECTER. So how do you know that she was outside in advance?

Ms. WEAVER. Because I was coming around-side the shed—I didn't follow my dad right behind him before he got shot, because I didn't realize he had left me. The whole time, I just thought I had to stay with my dad, I had to stay with my dad, and by the time

I realized he was heading for the shed he was halfway there. So I told Kevin, I said, "I gotta follow my dad. I gotta get over there with him."

So I started following him, and he was around the corner, and I heard this shot, and I was just coining around the corner, and I missed him. He just went around the other side. And I came around, and he turned around, and I said, "Dad, what happened?"

He said, "I've been shot."

And my mom had popped out the door at that time and was screaming, "What happened, what happened?" And Dad goes, "I've been shot." And I put my hand on his back, and I said, "We gotta go home. We gotta get in the house now." And I pushed him, and we started running as fast as we could, which wasn't very fast because we had to make this curve over some tree roots and rocks, but as fast as we possibly could, we were running to the house. And she was standing behind the door, holding it open, the whole time, saying, "Come on, come on, get in the house."

Senator SPECTER. And you observed her as you were running toward the door

Ms. WEAVER. Yes.

Senator SPECTER [continuing]. Standing where? Standing behind the door, in front of the door, or where?

Ms. WEAVER. She was standing right here, right in the window, holding it open, holding the baby, saying, "Get in the house, get in the house.”

Senator FEINSTEIN. And she was shot here?

Ms. WEAVER. Yes.

Senator SPECTER. And you saw her in that position as you were running toward her?

Ms. WEAVER. If I had taken one more step, he would have gotten all three of us, because I felt everything just hit my cheek

and it sounded like the person was standing right behind—it sounded like it was right there.

Senator SPECTER. How long would you say your mother was standing there in that position in the door?

Ms. WEAVER. The whole time it took us to run from that shed into the house.

Senator SPECTER. And how long would that have been, approxi­mately?

Ms. WEAVER. Approximately 10 seconds. I really couldn't tell you. I d have to go up and do it over and time it.

Senator SPECTER. And do you think she was visible through the glass at that time?

Ms. WEAVER. I do believe she was.

Senator SPECTER. Why do you conclude that?

Ms. WEAVER, Because I remember the curtains. I remember having to close them. I remember, we gotta get the curtains in the house closed, all the curtains in the house. We closed the living room curtains, we closed these curtains—because the night before. we hadn't been worried about anyone looking in our house or trying to take shots at us. We were just all in such shock.

Senator SPECTER. But if the hole was lined up, as Senator Feinstein is now indicating, there still is a substantial portion of the window obscured by the curtain.

Ms. WEAVER. Yes, but I believe this was pulled back, too.

Senator SPECTER. But are you sure?

Ms. WEAVER. Yes, I'm sure of that.

Senator FEINSTEIN. Where would it have been pinned? I don't see a hole that would hole a tieback.

Ms. WEAVER. Right there. They were just little checkered ribbons, like you buy on a roll in the store.

Senator FEINSTEIN. I see them on this side— Senator SPECTER. Where do you say, Ms. Weaver, that the pin holes are—on the side with the hinges?

Ms. WEAVER. I think there's one right there.

Mr. SPENCE. He testified that he saw Harris flinch. Harris had to be behind the door when he was hit.

Ms. WEAVER. He fell in front of me, and I tripped over him getting in the house.

Mr. SPENCE. And so that means— Senator SPECTER. So special agent Horiuchi said he saw—this was the transcript of special agent Horiuchi's testimony?

Mr. SPENCE. It's his statement.

Senator SPECTER. "When I fired the shot, I knew the cabin door was standing open, but I believed even though the subject at whom I fired was on the porch at the door, that my shot would not impact the cabin itself. As the shot impacted, I believe that I saw the male subject at whom I fired flinch, and I believe that I had hit him low, around the hip area.”

Mr. SPENCE. He had to be behind the door when he was hit, so he had to see through the door.

Senator SPECTER. But where does Horiuchi say he was? This is Harris, right?

Mr. SPENCE. No; this is Horiuchi.

Senator FEINSTEIN. I know, but the subject is Harris.

Ms. WEAVER. Uh-huh.

Senator FEINSTEIN. Where was Harris—where does Horiuchi say he saw him?

Senator SPECTER. He says "As the shot impacted, I believe that I saw the male subject at whom I fired flinch."

Senator FEINSTEIN. On the porch, or inside the door?

Senator SPECTER. Well, it would have been behind the door.

Mr. SPENCE That's where he was when he was hit.

Ms. WEAVER . He was right in line with my mom, because it went right through her head and right into his arm and into his chest.

Mr. SPENCE. So if he saw a flinching, he had to be able to see through the door.

Ms. WEAVER. My mom dropped, and Kevin fell face first.

Senator SPECTER. Well, we will proceed with this with special agent Horiuchi. Thank you very much.

Senator Craig, anything further?

Senator CRAIG. Mr. Chairman, I feel as though I should know this young lady. I have read enough about and spent a good deal of time on this issue over the last several years.

I have no questions of you, Sara, and I only hope that causing you again to have to relive this issue will assist all of us in resolving it in a way that somehow could cause this not to happen again to some other young girl.

Ms. WEAVER. That's the reason I'm here today.

Senator CRAIG. And I thank you for your presence here today.

Ms. WEAVER. I appreciate you allowing me. I never in a million years would have dreamt I'd be sitting here. I mean, I'm just a scared, nervous teenager. And if I had taken that one more step, I wouldn't have had this opportunity to talk to such important people, and I really appreciate your time, for caring.

Senator SPECTER. Well, Sara, we are obviously glad you did not take the extra step. We thank you very much for appearing here today and for testifying.

We thank you, Mr. Weaver, Ms. Weaver, Mr. Spence, Mr. Gilman and Mr. Mumma.

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