Rape and murder of Cathy Sue Weaver by Jeffrey Hefling investigated on ID

Mugshot of Jeffrey Hefling
Jeffrey Hefling (pictured here in 2021) was sentenced to life for killing Cathy Sue Weaver. Pic credit: Florida Dept. of Corrections

Someone’s At The Door on ID is investigating the horrific rape and murder of Cathy Sue Weaver in her own home by air-conditioner repairman Jeffrey Hefling in Orlando, Florida, in 2001.

In February 2001, Weaver asked department store Burdines to send some workers around to her home to clean the air ducts and service the air-conditioning. Tragically, one of the repairmen who turned up was Hefling.

Six months later, on August 27, 2001, Hefling returned to Weaver’s home, broke in, and raped and murdered the 51-year-old businesswoman. He then tried to cover up the crime by setting fire to the house before fleeing the scene.

Weaver’s remains were discovered after a package delivery driver reported that they smelled smoke at her home.

The circumstances surrounding this case are doubly horrifying when it’s taken into account that Hefling was a known sex offender in central Florida. He had twice been convicted on rape charges for very similar crimes but had been released from prison early.

Jeffrey Hefling had a long criminal record

In 1986 he had raped a 31-year-old woman at gunpoint in her home, and on that occasion, he had been on probation following the rape and false imprisonment of another woman in 1980. Both crimes occurred in Seminole County to the north of Orlando.

Despite state guidelines suggesting he should be imprisoned for 40 years, Hefling spent just 12 years behind bars before he was released in 1998. He was supposed to remain under Community Supervision for the rest of his life.

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After his arrest for Weaver’s murder, Hefling made a deal with the prosecution that allowed him to escape the death penalty. He pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and three other related offenses such as burglary and assault and was sentenced to life in prison.

It was policy for Burdines and its former subcontractor Adler Services Inc. to run background checks on their employees, but unfortunately, neither organization had done so in the case of Hefling. The company agreed on a settlement with Weaver’s family whereby they paid out $9 million in compensation.

An organization called the Sue Weaver Cause was subsequently established to ensure that companies and organizations commit to properly screening their employees before sending them into people’s homes.

More from Investigation Discovery

Follow the links to read about more shocking crimes profiled on ID.

Officer Matt Pavelka was gunned down when he attended a seemingly routine incident in Burbank, California, in 2003, by members of the Vineland Boyz gang. His killing galvanized the US authorities into tackling organized crime in California, which subsequently put them on the trail of the notorious boss of the Sinaloa cartel, El Chapo.

Lisa Taylor was a 19-year-old student at Salisbury State University in Maryland when Ronald Watters and two accomplices attacked her as she walked home. They suffocated her and dumped her remains in a secluded area.

Someone’s At The Door airs at 10/9c on Investigation Discovery.

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