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Fla_Keys1

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Rusty Earnest
« on: Oct 11, 2008, 05:50 »
The man arrested for the murder of Rusty Earnest in 2007 pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison on October 4, 2008.  Details of the final court appearance can be found at www.timesdaily.com and do a search for Rusty Earnest.  Rusty was a good man and is still missed, but now his family has some closure to this tragic event.

From the Times Daily article:

Kenny Strickland's attempt to shift blame for the 2007 beating death of Rusty L. Earnest backfired and resulted Friday in Strickland pleading guilty to murder and being sentenced to life in prison.

 
Matt McKean/TimesDaily Dorothy Earnest, mother of Rusty L. Earnest, who was killed May 1, 2007, in his home in Rogersville, addresses Kenny Strickland, who is standing between his attorneys. Strickland pleaded guilty to murder and received a life sentence.
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click to enlarge Strickland Strickland, 25, of Eva, was scheduled to stand trial in November for the May 1, 2007, homicide. Those plans changed when Strickland was arrested Tuesday and charged with making a false statement to police.

During a brief hearing Friday in Lauderdale County Circuit Court, Strickland pleaded guilty to murder, waived his right to a pre-sentencing investigation and received the life sentence.

The plea agreement was reached after Strickland was charged with calling investigators earlier this week, claiming to have information about Earnest's death. Earnest, 47, was found dead on the floor of his smoke-filled home on Wheeler Lake in Rogersville.

Strickland, who lived next to Earnest at the time of Earnest's death, was arrested May, 24, 2007, and charged with capital murder. In April 2008, Strickland was indicted on murder, first-degree arson, first degree burglary and second-degree theft charges.

Strickland had maintained he was innocent until the new charges were lodged against him this week. Lauderdale District Attorney Chris Connolly said the filing a false report charge stemmed from Strickland calling investigators in an attempt to blame his uncle for Earnest's death.

Travis Clemmons, chief investigator for the Lauderdale sheriff's office, said Friday that a man called him Tuesday claiming to be a friend of Strickland's uncle.

"He was telling me that we had arrested the wrong man," Clemmons said. "He kept saying Kenny didn't kill Rusty and that Kenny's uncle killed him."

As Clemmons talked to the man, he began to suspect it might be Strickland. With the help of other investigators, Clemmons was able to determine the call was from a pay phone at an Elgin convenience store.

According to reports, investigators called the store and a clerk was able to get the tag number from the vehicle belonging to the man on the telephone. When investigators found that the vehicle belonged to Strickland, Rogersville police were called; they made a videotape of Strickland talking on the telephone before he was arrested, Clemmons said. Clemmons also made an audio recording of the 20-minute phone call, including when Strickland provided details about Earnest's murder that only the killer would know, he said.

After his arrest on the filing a false report charge, Strickland and his defense attorneys, Ralph Holt and Melinda Morgan Austin, both of Florence, decided it would be in Strickland's best interest to change his plea to guilty and accept the life sentence being offered by the Lauderdale District Attorney's Office.

"Based on the newly discovered evidence, there was a distinct possibility Kenny could get two consecutive life sentences if this case had gone to trial or the case could have been re-presented to the grand jury with the new evidence and he could have been indicted on capital murder," Holt said.

By pleading guilty and being sentenced to life in prison, Strickland will be eligible for parole. If he had been indicted for capital murder and convicted, he could have received the death penalty.

Holt said the filing a false report charge lodged against Strickland completely changed the nature of the case.

"It's the most dramatic turn of events I've seen in a case during my career as a lawyer," Holt said.

Lauderdale District Attorney Chris Connolly said it is one of the most unusual cases he has even been involved with.

Before Lauderdale Circuit Court Judge Mike Jones imposed the sentence, Strickland said, "I'm sorry." Strickland told Jones that he was high on crack cocaine when he used a hammer to kill Earnest.

When Earnest's mother, Dorothy Earnest, asked Strickland why he killed her son, Strickland replied "I don't know."

Earnest's brother, Grant Earnest, of Loretto, Tenn., told Strickland he has forgiven him and urged Strickland to turn his life around.

"There's only way you are going to avoid spending your eternal life in hell, and that's to give your life to the Lord," Grant Ernest said. "You better not be too proud to do it."

After the hearing, Grant Earnest said his family is satisfied with the life sentence Strickland received. He commended the sheriff's office and other police agencies that worked on the case and the district attorney's office for securing the guilty plea.


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Re: Rusty Earnest
« Reply #1 on: Oct 11, 2008, 07:46 »

Wow, that was a really nice piece of police work!  The fact that it brought at least some closure for Rusty's family makes it all the better.  It's just sad that the idiot wasn't hauled off the street before he had murdered somebody.

Bill
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Rusty Earnest Murder
« Reply #2 on: Mar 17, 2009, 01:40 »
Hi my name is Patsy Earnest Michael, I am Rusty little sister.  I know it has been almost six months since Kenny Strickland was rearrested and plead quilty to Rusty murder.  We have contacted so many over the months, and I thought the other day how the  forum had wrote so many nice things from co-workers, when this happen, and I wanted to update, to find that FLA-Keys1 had actually posted in October when this happened.  THANK YOU FLA-KEYS1.  It has been very overwhelming, only any that has experienced, an ordeal like this or the jursidal system would know.  Six months after his pleading quilty, we are still learning of things he had been doing, and not being arrested for.  Kenny Strickland had a bad drug problem for many years and was enable by some family members until it lead up to murder.  We actually knew one side of the family, they owned a river house next to Rusty.  This has been a very difficult thing, and one of those things you never get over but have to learn to live with.  It will soon be 2 years May 1.  and only have we made it with the help of God in our lives.  Rusty lives on daily, in our lives and we still come in contact often, with people who share with something he did for them or touch there lives.  So thank you for being the co-workers and friends he worked with from all areas, and the kind words when he passed.
Continue to pray for my family, my mom is 78 years old and I have one brother living Grant and there family's.

By Alabama law Kenny should serve 30 years for a life sentence, but come up for parole at 15 if laws do not change.  Anyone that wishes to send a letter to parole, to deny that, we have been told we can send them and they will stay there until that time.  So any would like to I can give info to anyone.  He is at Holman prison in South Alabama, suppose to be one of the worst.  Who knows who will still be on earth then!  Nobody!

Thank you again!

Patsy (Earnest) Michael

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Re: Rusty Earnest
« Reply #3 on: Jul 21, 2022, 12:30 »
,Hello to all,

As sad as this is that a family has to do this, the Earnest Family is starting the first steps of parole protest against Kenny Strickland’s first parole hearing coming SOON. Kenny Strickland plead guilty to our brother Rusty Earnest murder that occurred on May 2, 2007. Strickland was charged with Capitol Murder at the time of the crime. In April 2008 because of a reduction in charges, from the grand jury, due to substantial evidence, Strickland was released on bond. Strickland was out on bond for five (5) months. After many dramatic turn of events occurred, in October 2008, Strickland made a phone call to the police department stating they had the wrong man, for Rusty murder and was stating his uncle was the one responsible (which Strickland was mad at his uncle he was accusing at the time, for actually something Strickland had done, and caused his uncle to be arrested) from the nature of the call, it was believed to be Strickland for many details he gave, Strickland was identified and he was rearrested. Strickland plead guilty a few days later and was given a LIFE sentence with the possibility of parole. By Alabama Law he is eligible for his first parole hearing soon, in Alabama most parole hearings come as early as ten (10) years, but Stricklands is fifteen (15) years due to the nature of crime, habitual offender, waived his first hearing in the plea of guilty. We ask for your HELP.

We greatly appreciate each of you that are willing to help with this protest, and any who knew Rusty, knows he would help your family too. It is very important for protest LETTERS and ATTENDANCE of protest. Please be in PRAYER for our family as we will travel to Montgomery and state our case in front of a parole board for him not to be released along with the protest letters we received will be sent on to Montgomery for board to read before the hearing. Parole hearings are very hard for families. I will try to explain why protest against Strickland is so important.

Leading up to Rusty’s murder in 2007, Strickland was living a destructive and dangerous life and getting away with it, with the help of others. This lifestyle led up to the senseless brutal murder of Rusty May 2, 2007. In 2004, at the age of twenty one (21) Strickland served six (6) months of a one (1) year sentence for a burglary charge. At the age of twenty four (24) years old when he murdered Rusty, Strickland had a robbery charge against him for a local restaurant from earlier in 2007, that charge was suddenly dropped while Strickland was incarcerated in county jail for the murder of Rusty. Many other charges had been dropped or never developed along the way, from the help of others, from crimes Strickland had committed. Something should have been done. Strickland has CONTIUED his VIOLENT BEHAVIOR in prison, with many very VIOLENT offenses, but by Alabama Law will still be given the opportunity to have a hearing. After Strickland first hearing, he will be eligible for a hearing every five (5) years thereafter. Protest will be needed each time.

DETAILS OF THE INVESTIGATION. On May 1, 2007 earlier in the day, Strickland was high on drugs, in the need for money, and out of control, assaulted his Grandmother, and was told to leave their home. He then went to his other Granddaddy who was not aware of what had happened, and had not saw him in months and he was given permission to stay at the family cabin on the river next to Rusty’s, even though there was no water, Strickland stated he had no place to stay. According to those who saw Strickland earlier in the day he had unsuccessfully attempted to sell a knife for drugs, before borrowing $25.00 from a friend, and Strickland and two female companions spent the money on whiskey and drugs and partied in the family cabin next door to Rusty’s. Rusty had arrived home around 9:00 pm according to a neighbor.

Around midnight, Strickland, was in the need for money again, high on crack cocaine, went to Rusty home. Rusty was asleep, for WORK the next day. Rusty had sold a fishing boat that day to a coworker and was paid with cash. Strickland awoke him from sleep, getting him to his front door, brutally murdered Rusty in his doorway with a hammer, not only Rusty but throttle his little dog to death to make it silent . He robbed Rusty. Rusty had sold a fishing boat to a coworker that day and was paid cash. He left Rusty body on the porch, and left for several hours and purchased drugs and partied at a drug house with no shoes or shirt. On May 2, 2007, before daylight Strickland returned to Rusty home, drug Rusty body back in his home and set the house on fire to try to cover up the crimes he had committed. While this is only a BRIEF description of the 1 ½ year before Strickland plead guilty and there after that our family has endured because of Strickland’s actions and the judicial system, many rights of criminals and the prison system. Only prayers and God help has gotten us thru it all. This is why Strickland should never be released from prison. Such a senseless brutal crime.

Rusty was a Christian man, law abiding citizen never been in any kind of trouble, got up every day and went to work, even when he did not feel like it. Worked hard for anything he had and loved having people to enjoy what he had. Rusty gave God all his thanks for what he did have (his tithe check was found in his car on the day of the murder, he had already written out for Sunday, as he had just been paid that day) Rusty was always willing to help others with a lending hand, never drawing attention to himself. Rusty had a God given gift of encouragement to other’s. Family, church, friends and community lost a kind hearted man with love for life on May 2, 2007 to a brutal murder, Strickland committed. We know Rusty is in heaven today, but Strickland must continue to be held accountable for his brutal crimes against Rusty and the fear if he was released to murder someone else’s family member. Strickland is a dangerous person and should not be back in our community’s.

INSTRUCTIONS for much needed parole protest letters are BELOW. At a later date, a parole protest petition will be available online, for any to sign. Our FIRST step is parole protest letters for those who knew Rusty as LETTERS are of more importance. If you are RECEIVING this letter by EMAIL, please REPLY BACK or check RETURN RECEIPT so I know you received this letter. Thank you again for your support in this matter.

The Earnest Family

Letters needs to be a personal letter, can be HANDWRITTEN or TYPED. Must have Kenneth Bradford Strickland AIS#234843
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