Henry County Sheriff’s Office charges suspect for 2016 homicide

Published: Sep. 12, 2023 at 5:13 PM EDT
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HENRY COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ) - The seven-year case of the 2016 homicide of Everett Odell Bivens Jr. is coming to a close.

A Henry County Grand Jury has indicted Kenneth Edward Gearheart on the charges of aggravated murder of a witness in a criminal case, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, and possession of a firearm by a violent felon.

Gearheart is currently in prison for 14 drug-related charges that he was convicted of back in 2019. He was sentenced to more than 200 years with 95 years to serve.

Court officials say the maximum punishment Gearheart can face is life in prison without the possibility of parole, the minimum sentence being 8 years served in addition to his current sentence.

According to deputies, on August 8, 2016, the Martinsville-Henry County 9-1-1 Center received reports of a body in an abandoned house at 5176 Appalachian Dr. in the Fieldale area of Henry County.

Deputies then located badly decomposed remains near the wood line where the remains were then transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for the Western District of Virginia for autopsy.

Deputies say the remains were identified being Everett Odell Bivins Jr. through the use of DNA analysis and the manner of death was ruled a homicide.

Everett Odell Bivins Jr., was last reported seen on August 1st, 2016, and was reported missing on August 5th.

Gearhart is being held in the Keen Mountain Correctional Facility of Buchanan Virginia.

Anyone having information about this incident is asked to contact the Henry County Sheriff’s Office at (276) 638-8751 or Crimestoppers at 63-CRIME (632-7463). The Crimestoppers Program offers rewards of up to $2500.00 for information related to crime. The nature of the crime and the substance of the information determine the amount of reward paid.