This, to put it as mildly as possible, is not how friends and colleagues thought George Weber was going to go out.
Salacious details regarding the 47-year-old former KGO talk show host and newsman's bizarre death have hit the New York papers and have begun their inevitable trickle westward. Police have apprehended a 16-year-old boy, who has admitted to stabbing Weber more than 50 times Friday in what he claims was a Craigslist rough sex rendezvous gone bad that transformed the radioman's Brooklyn apartment into a nightmarish, bloody abattoir.
"If you were to ask me how George Weber would go, I would not say he'd be murdered in his apartment by a 16-year-old," said a shell-shocked Claudia Lamb, a KGO producer who knew Weber since her "first day in radio" in 1989. "If you asked me, I always thought the cigarettes would have gotten him."
Just as San Francisco listeners who grew accustomed to Weber's voice between the late 1980s and mid '90s could never have foreseen the bizarre personal circumstances that seem to have led to Weber's violent death, it came as a great shock to his longtime friends and colleagues. While Weber enjoyed doing "edgy talk" on live radio and was a remarkably outgoing man who made friends easily, his former co-workers recalled him as a man who remained tight-lipped about his personal circumstances.
"There are a lot of paths a person can follow. And, usually, you can see what road a person is on -- but no one to my mind could foresee George traveling down a path that might lead to a cliff in the dark," said Greg Jarrett, a former KGO and ABC news anchor and old friend of Weber's.
Jarrett noted that Weber liked doing "edgy talk" on radio, but felt his longtime colleague was better-suited for "interesting news." But no matter how edgy his shows got, Weber never revealed many details of his home life to his listeners -- or his colleagues.
Still, his warmth and humor were hard to resist -- and co-workers were, at times, awed by Weber's skill and wit. Lamb brought up an intricate stunt Weber pulled on his talk show in which he parodied radio telethons with a "smoke-a-thon."
"This was back in the '80s when it was still legal to smoke everywhere. And he had this thing where people would call up and 'pledge' how many cigarettes they were going to smoke," she recalled. "He got people's comments and taped them and had them all cued up. And he ran a two-hour show as if it was a telethon."
As the tawdry details surrounding Weber's death threaten to overwhelm the memories of the rest of his life, his friends and colleagues despair. They'd prefer to remember the chain-smoking, witty newsman who "worked harder than anybody gathering sound" and "Mainly seemed to really enjoy life."
"Aside from smoking and liking a cocktail, George didn't seem to have any of what you might consider bad habits at all," Jarrett said. "Certainly nothing that would threaten his life."