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Lake house of man charged in Earnest slaying burns

March 24, 2009

MONETA, Va. (AP) -- The lake house of a former assistant principal charged with killing his estranged wife, a former Hedgesville High School basketball star, has burned to the ground.

Bedford County fire officials are investigating the Friday night blaze at the Smith Mountain Lake home of Wesley Earnest, which county tax records show is valued at about $1.2 million.

No one was injured.

Earnest's attorney declined to comment on where his client was at the time of the fire.

Earnest is charged with killing his wife, Jocelyn Branham Earnest, at her home in Forest in December 2007. He was assistant principal at Great Bridge High School in Chesapeake at the time of the slaying.

A trial date is scheduled for June 3.

Jocelyn Earnest, 38, graduated from Hedgesville High School in 1988 and received a full basketball scholarship to West Virginia University. She graduated from WVU with degrees in marketing and economics, then received her master's degree in business administration from Virginia Tech.

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She was a project manager for Genworth Financial in Lynchburg.

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