For 20 years, the family of Hazel Weaver has sought answers about why she was shot twice in the head on the front porch of her Bucksport home and robbed.
Again, on Monday, they asked the same questions of the man who was sentenced to die for her killing.
But he didn’t answer them.
Instead, Titus Huggins told Circuit Court Judge Larry Hyman he had nothing to say during a hearing at which he was sentenced to life in prison. A judge overturned his death sentence in 2005.
Huggins has been jailed since his arrest on March 10, 1994 and the 44-year-old man will remain jailed for at least another 10 years before he is now eligible for parole.
Huggins, who has been on death row since his conviction in 1996, was found guilty of murder, armed robbery and criminal conspiracy to commit murder in the Feb. 15, 1994, death of Hazel Weaver. A mistrial was declared in the first trial in 1995.
Hazel Weaver owned and operated a local store in Bucksport. She was found shot twice in the head on her front porch, which was about a block from her store, and $150 was missing.
Circuit Court Judge John M. Milling ordered Huggins’ death sentence vacated after a post-conviction relief hearing because of ineffective trial attorneys and remanded the case for resentencing.
On Monday, 15th Circuit Solicitor Jimmy Richardson said he didn’t want to seek the death penalty again because Huggins’ convictions for murder, armed robbery and criminal conspiracy remain intact.
“Most of the appeals processes do not take this long,” Richardson said after the hearing.
With the death penalty sentence vacated, Huggins is eligible for parole because the murder happened before laws changed in 1996, Richardson said. He can apply for parole annually after he has served 30 years.
Two other men were convicted of lesser crimes in Weaver’s death and have served their prison sentences, Richardson said.
For Weaver’s family, seeing Huggins in court again and learning he can apply for parole was unacceptable.
“He needs to stay in prison for the rest of his life. The boy needs the death penalty, lethal injection, the electric chair, a bullet just like he gave my mother wouldn’t be good enough,” said Marlon Weaver, one of Hazel Weaver’s sons. “She knew them boys from the time they were children and they do this.”
Marlon Weaver also said his mother barely stood 5 feet tall, while S.C. Department of Correction records show Huggins is 6 feet 3 inches tall.
“My mother was 5 feet tall and looking at this murderer, he had to shoot her point blank behind her left ear and when she fell on that porch he shot her in the eye,” Marlon Weaver said. “For a measly $200, if he would’ve asked she would’ve given it to them.”
Hazel Weaver’s only sister, Rosalie Richardson, faced Huggins and asked why he shot her sister.
“You don’t need to get out,” said Rosalie Richardson, who is not related to the solicitor. “You killed her and you are going to pay for it one way or the other, you are going to pay.”
The 81-year-old woman said after the hearing, “I only wished he would’ve opened his mouth and told me why he killed my sister. She was the best sister anybody could have.”