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Wesley Earnest found guilty, Jury recommends life

DAY TEN:

March 22, 2010
(Page 10 of 17)

Shameka Wright of Campbell County testified this afternoon that she has been in a romantic relationship with Wesley Earnest since 2004. Prosecutors asked Wright about contact she had with Earnest on Wednesday, December 19, 2007, the day Jocelyn Earnest died. Wright says she spoke with Earnest by phone that morning, but did not speak with Earnest that evening because she could not get him on the phone. Wright says cell phone reception at Earnest's home was "spotty" and there were many times when she was unable to reach him by phone. When she did speak with Earnest that day, Wright says he told her he was not feeling well. Wright says she has a good relationship with Earnest that continues to this day. Wright's mother was the one who told Earnest about the death of Jocelyn Earnest. She says Earnest became "faint, "emotional," and was unable to talk.

Wright was asked by Earnest's defense attorneys about traveling between her home in Campbell County to visit Earnest in Chesapeake. She says she traveled along the Route 460 corridor. Wright says it regularly took four hours, without stopping, to drive from Chesapeake to Rustburg, even during early morning hours. Prosecutors have been trying to establish a timeline by which Earnest could have driven from Chesapeake to murder Jocelyn Earnest at her home in Forest.

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UPDATED: 2:40 p.m.

Molly Sullivan, a teacher at Oscar Smith Middle School, testified that she started a friendship with Wesley Earnest while he was working in Chesapeake. She says the friendship stemmed from her work on a masters degree in school administration. Sullivan says she used Earnest as a source for a paper she was writing. She understood that Earnest was single and so she invited Earnest to come and have dinner with her and friends. Within moments of meeting, Sullivan says Earnest told her he was worth five million dollars, citing a home at Smith Mountain Lake and property in California. Sullivan says Earnest was very uncomfortable about anyone learning details about his property holdings. She says Earnest told her he was not married. Sullivan says she heard rumors that Earnest was still married to a woman in Lynchburg, but he repeatedly told her that he was not married and that he was never divorced. Sullivan says she never met Jocelyn Earnest or anyone else Earnest was dating at the time.

In early 2008, Sullivan says she heard a rumor that Earnest's wife died in a car accident. She contacted Earnest to say she was sorry for his loss. She says he wrote back to say "what are you talking about?" Sullivan later spoke to Earnest on the phone, at which point she again brought up the death of Earnest's wife. She testified that Earnest said, in an aggressive tone "What the f*** are you talking about?! I don't have a wife."

UPDATED 2:22 p.m.

Sonja Stevens, a 7th grade English Teacher at Oscar Smith Middle School in Chesapeake, testified about getting to know Wesley Earnest during his time as a school administrator in her city. Stevens says that Earnest told her he was a doctor and aspired to move up within his career. Wesley reportedly talked to Stevens about properties that he owned. Stevens said that Earnest was "well off." She said Earnest told her that he didn't have to work for a living. According to Stevens, Earnest told her he had never been married, saying that he was engaged at one time, but that it didn't work out. Stevens says she tried to set Earnest up with her friend and was later shocked to find out that Earnest was married. Through friends, Stevens says she learned about the death of Jocelyn Earnest. When she found out about this, Stevens says she texted Earnest and said "I'm sorry about your wife," later getting a text back from Earnest that read "what are you talking about?" Stevens says she never spoke with Earnest again.

UPDATED: 2:13 p.m.

Neal Phillips, a resident of Virginia Beach, testified about renting a room in his home to Wesley Earnest. Earnest lived in Phillips' home from August until December 2005. Phillips says Earnest told him that he was moving to Virginia Beach to accept a job and that his wife would be joining him as soon as his situation worked out with his job. Phillips says he never met Jocelyn Earnest, but claims he did Earnest with a girlfriend, Shameka Wright, every other weekend. Phillips testified that Earnest once told him "B****** like my wife and your wife should be dead."

UPDATED: 12:32 p.m.

Prosecutors presented a handwritten note they say was written by Wesley Earnest. It says the following: "Weather 12/19/07. Gas up for the drive? Lived in so many places over length of time. Need local number for "CPS." On the back of the note, an address is listed for a Kathy Czaya of Bolton, CT.

A typed letter was also found that names Jocelyn, her family, and friends. It describes each person and how they might testify in a potential divorce hearing.

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