Charlottesville Breaking News

Painful puzzle: Abshire talks about the fatal night



ABC NEWS

It was first considered a tragic but straight-forward incident of hit and run on a winding, moonlit country road in Barboursville. But the 2006 death of Justine Swartz Abshire, a 27-year-old kindergarten teacher, continues to vex investigators, as a series of discrepancies surround the late woman's husband, who insists on his innocence.

 

Last month, the tragedy found a national audience when ABC Primetime Crime, capping a year-long investigation by the network, aired an hour-long episode on Justine's death that revealed some startling new clues. But despite the new information– including phone records and a battery of injuries inconsistent with the original story– questions remain: How did Justine spend her final hours? Why did it take her husband as long as 18 minutes to call 911 after he discovered his wife's body? And how did Justine really die?

The biggest question of all, however, is one that has been whispered throughout the community for nearly two years: Did Eric Abshire murder his wife? Or is he– as he claims– a grieving widower scapegoated by devastated parents and a frustrated police force with no other suspects?

Last week, for the first time, Abshire agreed to sit down with the Hook for...

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Gilmore serves up red meat at local diner

Former governor Jim Gilmore makes his entrance to greet supporters at Sam's Kitchen on Emmet Street. PHOTO BY LINDSAY BARNES

In the realm of American politics, "change" might be a word most associated with Sen. Barack Obama (D)'s presidential campaign. But today, in Charlottesville, another recent candidate for the White House showed that the Illinois senator has not cornered the market on the year's biggest political buzzword.

"It is time for a change," said former governor Jim Gilmore (R) to a room of about 30 supporters, "and when I'm elected to the United States Senate, we're going to give people a fresh energy policy."

Such was the theme of Gilmore's remarks at yesterda...

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State wonders: Where's John Kluge (and his wallet)?

When the new Virginia Civil Rights Memorial is unveiled in Richmond's Capitol Square July 21, Rita Moseley, 61, will be there with her new college degree. Moseley's degree in business administration comes courtesy of the Brown v. Board of Education scholarship program started in 2004. When the new Virginia Civil Rights Memorial is unveiled in Richmond's Capitol Square July 21, Rita Moseley, 61, will be there with her new college degree.

Moseley's degree in business administration comes courtesy of the Brown v. Board of Education scholarship program started in 2004. The idea is to pay tuitions for black students whose local schools in Prince Edward and Warren counties, as well as the cities of Norfolk and even Charlottesville, were closed in the name of Massive Resistance after the landmark 1954 ruling. In the case of Prince Edward, the closing lasted five years, effectively terminating the educational careers of some students who are now grown and in some cases retired.

The scholarship fund, however, still has some unfinished business. In 2004, fo...

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So you wanna bust your neighbor...

So, it's been 30 minutes, and the dog next door still won't quit yapping. What now?

First, under the new Albemarle anti-barking law, you need to determine whether or not your neighbor's property is five acres or larger. If not, you can proceed under the newly-approved barking ordinance.

Start by ignoring the address on Albemarle County's website; the Charlottesville-Albemarle Magistrate's office hasn't been downtown for at least five years.

Now located at 1610 Avon Street, it's next to the local jail. And although it's supposedly open 24 hours a day, on the morning of our visit, June 16, we had to wait while something urgent was rushed to a courthouse downtown.

"Take a number," jokes a man in front of me when the office finally reopens 40 minutes after my arrival.

Six chairs are lined up in a formation reminiscent of a passport line in a post office. I take a seat.

Another thirty minutes go by, and a magistrate invites me in. I am in a room with a table and chair, and there is a sheet of thick glass se...

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Arts attack: 2nd St. director abruptly resigns

Is there something in the nonprofit water that has directors of local cultural institutions dropping like cherry blossoms to pursue the ubiquitous "other opportunities"? Long-time Second Street Gallery executive director Leah Stoddard becomes the latest to mysteriously disappear, turning in a resignation May 5–- without the usual two weeks or more notice that typically accompanies cordial departures. By May 6, she was no longer listed on the gallery website.

"I have resigned," Stoddard confirms from home May 7. As for the lack of notice, "I can't really talk about it," she says.

Stoddard joins the Paramount Theater's former director Edward Rucker, who tendered his resignation May 2 "to pursue other opportunities" after a 10-month tenure and University of Virginia Art Museum director Jill Hartz, who was shown the door in December and then landed a job heading the University of Oregon's much larger museum. (Not to mention cultural icon ...

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