Travis County DA will not offer plea deal to Criner

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Photo Credit: Caleb Kuntz | Daily Texan Staff

Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore will not offer a plea deal to the man accused of murdering dance freshman Haruka Weiser last April, according to the Austin American-Statesman.

“We want a trial, and we aren’t going to plea bargain it,” Moore told the Statesman. “I think Haruka Weiser’s killer deserves punishment to the fullest extent of the law.”

Meechaiel Khalil Criner was indicted on a charge of capital murder in connection to the death of Weiser by a Travis County grand jury last June. The two-page indictment accused Criner of sexually assaulting Weiser and killing her by strangulation with “a ligature, a deadly weapon,” as well as other charges Criner is alleged to have committed during the crime, including attempted kidnapping and robbery.

Criner was scheduled to stand trial on March 27, but state District Judge David Wahlberg has since moved the trial to August at the earliest, according to the Statesman.

Weiser was reported missing early last April after failing to return home from a dance rehearsal the previous evening. On April 5, her body was found in Waller Creek, behind the on-campus alumni center near San Jacinto and East 23rd Streets.

Since Criner was a minor at the time of the offense, he cannot receive the death penalty because of a 2005 Supreme Court decision. If convicted, Criner will automatically be sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 40 years.

Criner is scheduled to appear in court again on March 23.