Neighbors of Jocelyn Earnest React to Guilty Verdict
Reporter: Lauren Compton l Videographer: Daniel Heffner
Forest,VA - For the second time Wesley Earnest was found guilty for murdering his wife Jocelyn Earnest. The jury recommended Wesley should spend the rest of his life in prison.
It has taken three years and two trials to get to this verdict. Neighbors of Jocelyn Earnest, who saw the crime scene around her home, say the guilty verdict is a step towards closure for Jocelyn's family and for them.
Martha Lawrence lives just across the street from where Jocelyn was found dead three years ago. She says neighbors are relieved that Wesley Earnest's guilty verdict means he will be in jail for a long time.
"They were just ecstatic. We feel justice has been served, and now we can put this to rest," said Lawrence.
"There's going to be a tremendous amount of closure here. Everyone was on pins and needles a little," said Cindy Capps, a neighbor of Jocelyn Earnest.
Not a lot has changed on Pine Bluff Drive since the murder. Jocelyn's house remains sealed by court order, and everything is just as it was the night she died. And, neighbors say the sadness of what happened at Jocelyn's home remains as well.
"You think about it every day when you look at the house. The house is a constant reminder of what's happened there," said Lawrence.
Lawrence says she's still can't believe a murder happened across the street from her home.
"We were just shocked. I couldn't believe what was happening "said Lawrence.
It was December 20, 2007, when investigators pulled out the body of Jocelyn Earnest, a horrific scene neighbors say has haunted the neighborhood since.
"When I tell folks where I live or describe where I live they say, 'Oh that's the area where the lady was killed'," said Capps.
But, now with Wesley's guilty verdict neighbors hope some peace will return to their community for them and Jocelyn's family.
"I do think that now we as a neighborhood can kind of take a collective sigh of relief," said Capps.
Wesley Earnest is now being held at Blue Ridge Regional Jail. He will be sentenced on January 25h.