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Va. man wants conviction in former area woman's murder nullified

July 15, 2010

BEDFORD, Va. (AP) -- Lawyers for a former high school administrator are asking a Bedford County judge to nullify a first-degree murder conviction in his estranged wife's slaying because jurors saw her journal entries.

Wesley Earnest's lawyers filed a motion Wednesday, arguing that the viewing of the entries violated Earnest's right to a fair trial. The judge had excluded the journals from being introduced at trial because Earnest was unable to question those presenting evidence against him.

The former high school administrator in Lynchburg and Chesapeake was convicted in April in the 2007 shooting death of Jocelyn Branham Earnest.

It's unclear how jurors gained access to the journals.

Jocelyn Earnest graduated from Hedgesville (W.Va.) High School an was a former West Virginia University women's basketball player.

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