Investigating murder: Dateline covers Abshire case
Eight months after sometime-dump-truck driver Eric Dee Abshire was convicted of first-degree murder in Orange County Circuit Court, national news show Dateline NBC will air a two-hour special on the complex case on Friday, June 22.
As extensively reported in the Hook, Abshire reported finding his wife Justine's body in the middle of a rural road in the wee hours of November 3, 2006. He initially told investigators that the couple had argued over the health of his mother, and that Justine had angrily left the house only to call him soon after to report her car had broken down and request a ride. When he arrived, he claimed, she was already dead.
Police quickly began poking holes in his story, but some of the most damning evidence came from an autopsy. Justine's injuries, the medical examiner would later testify, did not correspond to being struck by a car while standing. Furthermore, there was a notable absence of blood at the scene, and in her body, suggesting she'd died elsewhere.
A jury took less than two hours to convict Abshire, who never testified on his own behalf and who was sentenced to life in prison in January.
Abshire, who remains at the Central Virginia Regional Jail while awaiting placement into a state prison, has replaced his original attorney Charles "Buddy" Weber with Richmond-based David Hargett, who specializes in criminal appeals. Appeals must be filed within 40 days of the Court of Appeals receiving the full trial file. That "voluminous" record has not yet been transferred, says Orange County Commonwealth's Attorney Diana Wheeler, who expects the clerk of court to deliver it in coming days.
Hargett declines to describe the nature of Abshire's potential appeals.
"The best I can tell you," he says, "is that we are exploring several different issues to pursue."
The Abshire episode of Dateline NBC airs June 22 from 9-11pm.