Day 7 Wesley Earnest Re-Trial: Fuss Over Fingerprints - - ABC13

Day 7 Wesley Earnest Re-Trial: Fuss Over Fingerprints


Reporter: Jeremy Mills

(6:00 p.m.) Amherst Co., VA - After six days of testimony, prosecutors have rested their case in the murder re-trial of Wesley Earnest.

Wednesday's final few witnesses sparked a fight over fingerprint evidence.

The defense tried its hardest to discredit the science of fingerprint analysis, even going so far to call it 'junk' science.

This has to do with two partial fingerprints found on the alleged suicide note left by Jocelyn Earnest. Both prints have been matched to Wesley Earnest and it's the only physical evidence linking him to her death.

Just like the first trial, defense attorneys questioned Virginia crime lab analysts about the methodology of fingerprint identification. Scientists testified that they matched about 15 out of 150 points of similarity in the prints.

They say that's more than enough to declare they belong to Wes Earnest.

The defense tried to bring up a UCLA professor to help discredit the use of fingerprints. The judge says because she's not an analyst, she can't be considered an expert, so she wasn't allowed to testify.

The defense did make sure to point out that fingerprints can last for years, to make the argument that Wes Earnest could have touched the blank sheet of paper while he lived in the house, before someone used it to write the note.


(11:30 a.m.) Amherst Co., VA - Prosecutors in the Wesley Earnest murder trial spent Wednesday morning focusing on the physical evidence they believe links him to the murder of his wife- the fingerprints on the suicide note.

A state forensic scientist testified that two finger prints- one on the front and one on the back- match Wesley Earnest.

The defense argued that there is not enough of the prints to make a match.

They also say if the paper was taken from inside the home, Wesley had previously lived there so he could have his prints on the page.

The prosecution is expected to rest its case Wednesday afternoon.

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