Day 5 Wesley Earnest Re-Trial: Focus on Finances - - ABC13

Day 5 Wesley Earnest Re-Trial: Focus on Finances

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Reporter: Jeremy Mills

Amherst Co., VA - Day five of the Wesley Earnest murder re-trial focused on a full day of testimony about the couple's financial problems.

Prosecutors set out to prove a motive for Jocelyn Earnest's murder, saying that killing her provided the easiest way for Wesley to get out of debt.

One thing both sides can agree on is that the Earnests owed a lot of money.

In testimony Monday, the amount owed to creditors was somewhere around $1.1 million.

That included $900,000 to build their lakefront house on Smith Mountain Lake.

The mortgage on that property was about $6,000 a month and Wesley Earnest reportedly could not afford to keep up payments.

According to testimony, Jocelyn wanted to sell the home, but due to the housing market crash, Wesley was afraid they'd take a loss.

Prosecutors say by killing his wife, it gave him sole ownership of the lake home and Jocelyn's $200,000 house on Pine Bluff Drive, which was paid off.

The defense says the argument doesn't work because while the couple was separated, Jocelyn continued to pay half of their debt and with her gone, her $106,000 a year salary would be gone too.


(11:30 a.m.) Amherst Co., VA - Day five of the Wesley Earnest murder re-trial started with testimony from former FBI agent James Fitzgerald.

He's a forensic linguist that's credited with solving the "Unabomber" case.

Prosecutors were trying to prove that Jocelyn Earnest did not commit suicide.

Fitzgerald said the writing style of the 83-word suicide note is inconsistent with her writing style.

When asked if the note matched Wesley Earnest's writing style, the agent said he has no decision.

We'll bring you a full re-cap of today's trial happenings tonight on 13 News at 6:00.

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