The Virginia Court of Appeals has granted an appeal request by Wesley Earnest, the Bedford County man convicted of killing his wife and leaving a fake suicide note.
According to online records, Earnest asked for an appeal in early 2011, shortly after he was sentenced to life in prison. A one-judge review panel denied his appeal request in November 2011, which was then referred to a three-judge panel who made its decision to grant the request in late February. Notice of granting the appeal request was made public on Monday.
Granting an appeal request is rare and means oral arguments will be presented to the Court of Appeals sometime in the future, possibly over the summer, those close to the case told WDBJ7.
The three-judge panel cited doubts about fingerprints found on an alleged suicide note that prosecutors said were Earnest's as a reason for granting the request, a source told WDBJ7. Defense attorneys questioned how the fingerprints were analyzed.
Written arguments will now be submitted to the state before oral arguments are heard. The Court will then decide if the case should be re-tried.
The original charges have already been re-tried after jurors read journals they weren't supposed to have in the first trial in 2010.
Earnest was an assistant principal at Heritage High School.
His wife, Jocelyn, was found dead in December 2007 in her home. The couple was going through a divorce at the time of her death.