Thursday, September 25, 2008

Waynesboro' VA man pleads to attempted murder of "girlfriend"

Sam Wesley Earhart, 43, of Waynesboro, VA, plead guilty Wednesday, September 24, to shooting his then girlfriend, Susan Keith, on May 7. According to Thomas H. Weidner IV, Waynesboro's assistant prosecutor, Earhart plead to malicious wounding, burglary with the intent to murder, felony weapons possession, using a firearm in the commission of a felony and assault and battery of a law enforcement officer.

Keith was face-down on a sofa when Earhart shot her. The plastic-encased bullet traveled between bone and skin before exiting Keith's skull. Bullet fragments found in her skull and in the apartment matched bullets loaded in the pistol found alongside Earhart inside the gold Plymouth Acclaim that he drove from the apartment. The car belonged to Keith.

When authorities arrived at the apartment at 9:25 a.m., they found her covered in blood but conscious, police said.

Keith initially believed she had been struck in the head, not shot, she testified in Waynesboro General District Court in July. She was treated at Augusta Medical Center and the University of Virginia Medical Center, Widener said.

Police followed Earhart along North Delphine Avenue to Whippoorwill Way.

After that, Earhart lead them on a drunken, 2 mile chase. After the arrest, he spat on an officer. Earhart's criminal record, which dates back 20 years, includes forgery, burglary, and assault charges. His latest conviction, which took place in 2006, was for meth possession and marijuana distribution, for which he served 3 months in jail and was on 5 years of unsupervised probation.

Earhart faced two life sentences. The plea agreement was heard in Waynesboro Circuit Court Judge Humes J. Franklin's courtroom.

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