Trial date set in arson-murder case

(Pittsylvania County, Va.) — A 17-year-old charged in the arson-related death of his mother has pleaded not guilty to murder. Jacob Gene Tharpe of Dry Fork faces charges of first-degree murder and arson. 62-year-old Bernadette Marie Nesbitt died in a fire on Dec. 21, 2016, at her home on Sandy Creek Road. Her body was found inside the burning building and the state medical examiner determined Nesbitt died from sharp force injuries to the head, torso and extremities. Tharpe was arrested at the scene. A two-day jury trial is scheduled to begin on December 4.