Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Death of Rusty Earnest

Rusty Lynn Earnest's home on Travel Path Road in Rogersville wasn't palatial, but it offered a panoramic view of Roberson Beach on Wheeler Lake. It was also usually surrounded by vehicles and boats that Earnest collected or just bought to help out those who needed some extra cash. It was the sale of one of these boats on May 1, 2007, that ultimately led to his death. Earnest was known to carry large amounts of cash, and his neighbors on the lake front road knew that the boat's sale had brought even more ready cash into the pockets of the health physics specialist.

When Earnest didn't show up for work the next day, a worried co-worker contacted Rogersville police. Together the friend and Chief Ty Barrett arrived around 10:30 to find Earnest's house filled with smoke; both Rusty and his dog were dead inside. Assistant Rogersville Fire Chief Morris Lentz stated the house was so well sealed there wasn't enough oxygen to fuel the flames, and much evidence to the crime remained. There were obvious blood stains on the small patio, but not so obvious was the killer's identity.

Neighbors and family all spoke well of Earnest, but they also mentioned his habit of carrying copious amounts of cash. Lauderdale County investigators who had arrived at the scene now had a motive--what they didn't have was a suspect.


To be sure it's the day for the wearin' of the green. May the road rise up to meet you and may you all enjoy this traditional Irish song--written in America, of course.