Earnhardt guilty of voluntary manslaughter

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 30, 2011

By Shavonne Potts
SALISBURY — A jury has found Robert Douglas Earnhardt guilty of voluntary manslaughter in the shooting death of his stepfather, Billy Tommy Elmore, and assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury permanently wounding Tiffany Marie Barbee.
Earnhardt was charged in September 2009 with first-degree murder.
Following what was a lengthy four-week trial that included a three-day holiday break, Superior Court Judge Kevin Bridges sentenced Earnhardt to a total of seven years, 11 months at the minimum and 11 years and one month at the maximum.
Earnhardt was given 64 months to 86 months for manslaughter and 31 months to 47 months for assault.
He will also receive credit for the more than two years he spent in the Rowan County jail awaiting trial.
Elmore was shot in the back of the head Sept. 17, 2009, at the 165 Leisure Lane home that he shared with his estranged wife, Patty Kesler Earnhardt Elmore.
Billy Elmore had moved out of the home a week before his death.
He’d gone to the home that night, driven by Barbee, to feed his dog.
Jurors told the court Thursday they could not reach a consensus. Jurors had been deliberating since Wednesday morning. By mid-morning today, they had reached a unanimous decision.
Earnhardt has filed an appeal.
See Saturday’s Post for more details.
Contact reporter Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253.