Friday, May 28, 2010

TV show nosing around SML

Crews from "48 Hours" seeking information about Bedford County murder, house fire.

Representatives from

Courtesy of Alice Swain

Representatives from "48 Hours" have been asking about the March 20 fire at the lakefront home of Wesley Earnest, who was found guilty of the 2007 murder of his estranged wife Jocelyn Earnest.

Crews from a network television news show have been patrolling the lake, digging for information on a murder that took place in 2007 in Bedford County. The case has garnered national media attention.

Lynn Swain, owner of Inland Shores Dock Construction and co-manager of Virginia Dare Marina, said representatives from CBS's "48 Hours" met with him and wife Alice last week. The couple lives across the lake from a house owned by Wesley Earnest, who was found guilty last month of killing his estranged wife, Jocelyn Earnest.

Lynn Swain said "48 Hours" representatives were interested in photos and videos he and his wife took by boat of Earnest's lake home on Clearwater Drive in Moneta when it was destroyed by a fire on March 20, 2009. The fire is being investigated as arson.

The Earnests had been estranged. Wesley Earnest was living in Chesapeake before Jocelyn Earnest was found dead of a gunshot wound in her Forest home on Dec. 20, 2007.

Bedford County law enforcement officials said it was a sloppily staged suicide.

Representatives from "48 Hours" and from NBC's "Dateline" attended the court hearings in Bedford County Circuit Court last month, listening to witness testimony and descriptions of related evidence.

Wesley Earnest's fingerprints were found on the type-written suicide note, but Jocelyn Earnest's were not. The note was not printed using printers in her home. Prosecutors noted the letter was emotionless, whereas Jocelyn Earnest's 16 hand-written journals were rich with emotion.

Additionally, the gun used to kill Jocelyn Earnest was registered to Wesley Earnest. The box for the .357 Smith & Wesson was found in the Campbell County home of his girlfriend, Shameka Wright. A medical examiner testified that Jocelyn Earnest was shot in the back of the head. Her body was found at least 2 feet from where she was shot.

Prosecutors argued that Wesley Earnest had left Chesapeake, where he worked as an assistant principal at Great Bridge High School, on Dec. 19, 2007, and drove to Forest to kill his wife of 12 years. He then returned to Chesapeake for work the next morning.

Jocelyn Earnest had filed for divorce in 2006, accusing her husband of having an affair with Wright.

Marcy Shepard, Jocelyn Earnest's co-worker at Genworth Financial in Lynchburg, said she and Jocelyn Earnest had been involved in a romantic, but not sexual, relationship since the summer of 2007. Shepard found the body after Jocelyn Earnest did not show up for work on Dec. 20.

Wesley Earnest was arrested at Wright's home about two months later for first-degree murder. A jury found him guilty on April 5 and recommended a life sentence.

Louise Bashi, communications director for "48 Hours," said no information about the pending episode is available at this time.