It’s not unheard of for a man to find a mistress online—and for him to find one that ends up killing his wife may be rare, but not entirely unique in the world of true crime. But it’s pretty much unheard of for an Amish man to embark down such a wild and murderous path.
Yet that’s just what happened in the case of Eli Weaver, an Ohio Amish man who had one of his mistresses kill his wife, Barbara Weaver, in 2009. Weaver convinced his married lover, Barbara Raber, to kill his wife by shooting her as she slept in her bed—and with her five children sleeping not far away. The shocking murder marked the third time that an Amish man was ever suspected of killing his spouse in America. It was also the first major crime in the Amish community in Apple Creek, Ohio.
"Case Closed," Macmillan Publishers’ true crime podcast, has dedicated its newest season to the disturbing case. The new series makes it very clear that Raber wasn’t the only woman with whom Eli was cheating—in fact, he was sleeping with multiple women, some whom he met in the flesh and many others he’d met online.
The Amish typically don’t use computers and the internet, and Weaver used this fact to his advantage. As Gregg Olsen, one of the authors of "A Killing in Amish Country: Sex, Betrayal, and a Cold-blooded Murder," said in “Case Closed,” Weaver likely used this to draw women in.
“He probably made them think he’d never seen a TV before,” Olsen said, adding that acting like “an Amish hick” worked to his advantage.
His online persona was all about his Amish background. In fact, his profiles — which featured shirtless photos of himself — were under the alias “Amish Stud."
The ruse worked. Women were curious about him, and he dated many of them during his double life. He began chatting with women with handles like “2_much_ass,” “69smileygirl,” and “naughtylittlesexysexslave.”
Weaver apparently spoke frequently about his desire for his wife’s death with these women. He mentioned to one woman he met online that she should run over his wife, according to "Case Closed." While the woman assumed it was a joke, according to the podcast, two weeks later Barbara Weaver was dead. And a month before the murder, Eli Weaver had also asked another woman he was dating what kind of poison could kill his wife.
Raber, however, was deadly serious. She ended up making 840 online searches related to poison, the New York Post reported in 2016. As “Case Closed” details, she and Weaver even discussed blowing up his wife's house while his kids were inside. They argued that the children would go to heaven, as they were "innocent." Ultimately, Raber took a shotgun from her own husband's gun cabinet, entered the Weaver house, and shot Barbara Weaver in the chest.
Raber is currently serving 23 years to life for aggravated murder. Eli Weaver, who was convicted of complicity to commit murder, was sentenced to 15 years to life.
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