Former Va. School Principal Guilty of Killing Estranged Wife

April 6, 2010

Jurors returned a guilty verdict Monday in the first-degree murder trial of a former school administrator in the 2007 slaying of his estranged wife.

The jury deliberated just over five hours before returning their verdict in the trial of Wesley Earnest, 39, in the fatal shooting of Jocelyn Branham Earnest.

After jurors returned their verdict, the trial's sentencing phase began.

Friends found Jocelyn Earnest's body on Dec. 20, 2007, on the living room floor of her Forest home. She had been shot in the head and a suicide note and a .375-caliber revolver were found nearby.

Earnest testified he was at his home in southeastern Virginia when his estranged wife was shot in the southwest part of the state more than 200 miles away.

Prosecutors countered that Wesley Earnest left Chesapeake after work at Great Bridge High School on Dec. 19, drove to Bedford and shot his wife.

His fingerprints were found on the typewritten suicide note found on the living room floor by Jocelyn Earnest's body.

Jocelyn Branham Earnest was born in Morgantown, W.Va., and graduated from West Virginia University. She was a member of the Mountaineer women's basketball team from 1989 to 1992.

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