Son charged in father’s death

by Wes Mayer


Justin Lee Earhart 

Sheriff’s deputies found a Coweta County man mortally wounded in his home early Thursday, and the man’s son was charged with murder after the victim died at the hospital.

Around 5:30 a.m. Thursday, Coweta County 911 operators received a call from a man saying he was being assaulted by his son, said Coweta County Sheriff Mike Yeager. Operators reported being able to hear two men fighting over the phone line, and at one point, the victim said he was stabbed by his son.

Within five minutes, two units with the Coweta County Sheriff’s Office arrived at the home at 300 Nectarine Drive in the Peachtree Landing subdivision, but it was too late. Yeager said responding deputies found the unresponsive victim, Richard L. Earhart, 58, lying by the road in the ice and snow surrounded by a pool of his own blood.

Emergency personnel were called to the scene and immediately transported Earhart to Piedmont Newnan Hospital, Yeager said. There, he was pronounced dead as a result of his wounds.

Deputies meanwhile entered the home and found the son, Justin Lee Earhart, 31, covered in blood, Yeager said. Deputies also found blood throughout the home along with several possible weapons. Earhart was taken into custody and later charged with murder.

“The cause of death appears to be trauma from some type of bladed weapon,” Yeager said.

Yeager said, due to the weather, authorities were unable to perform an autopsy Thursday, so he could not say what the exact fatal injury was. As of now, Earhart is only charged with murder, but he may be facing more charges after authorities receive results from the autopsy and Georgia Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab.

Last November, Justin Earhart was arrested in Coweta County on charges of burglary, and his father posted bond to release him from the Coweta County Jail, Yeager said.

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