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Witness: Justine Abshire tearful
Abshire trial continues in Orange.

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Date published: 10/18/2011


Justine Abshire's best friend and fellow teacher at Emerald Hill Elementary School in Culpeper testified yesterday that, on the last day of her life, Justine was tearful and despondent and had isolated herself by locking herself in her classroom.

After the two attended a graduate-school class in Orange that ended at 7 p.m., they talked.

As a result of that conversation, Kathleen Whitley went to Abshire's classroom the next day, and she found that her friend had left lesson plans for her kindergarten class for the following two months on her desk.

Justine Abshire's battered body was found at the side of a county road six hours after that conversation, and her husband, Eric Dee Abshire, 36, is standing trial in Orange County Circuit Court for first-degree murder.

His jury trial entered its fourth day yesterday and is expected to continue into next week.

Fellow teacher and good friend Jennifer Bryant testified that on the day of her death, Justine Abshire "looked awful, horrible, not like herself at all. She was flushed red and looked like she had been crying constantly."

Bryant said that when she asked Abshire what was wrong, she would say that only she wouldn't be at school the next day.

Commonwealth's Attorney Diana Wheeler also called Cecil Roebuck to the witness stand to testify on his experiences on the night of Nov. 2, 2006, the night Justine Abshire died.

The Charlottesville resident testified that he had gotten lost late that night in the Green County area where the Abshires lived and pulled into the Abshires' driveway to turn around. In court he identified Eric Dee Abshire as the man who waved at him and came down the driveway to talk to him.

Roebuck said he told Abshire he was lost and asked for directions. Abshire told him that he needed to put gas in his wife's car and would lead Roebuck back to the main road.

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