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Man linked to slain reporter arrested on unrelated charge

By Sally Voth -- svoth@nvdaily.com

A man who has been linked to slain Winchester Star reporter Sarah Libbey Greenhalgh has been arrested on an unrelated charge.

John Sheldon Kearns of Gainesville was arrested July 19 by Prince William County police on a probation violation, according to 1st Sgt. Kim Chinn, a public information office supervisor with the agency.

Court records indicate Kearns was picked up on a warrant for a community-based program violation and was in custody. He's scheduled to be in court Aug. 6, according to court records.

His court file was not available in the Prince William County General District Court records room and could not be reviewed. However, a recently granted divorce decree involving Kearns was available.

Fauquier County Sheriff's Lt. James Hartman said Kearns' arrest was "totally unrelated" to the Greenhalgh case.

Greenhalgh, who had worked for the Star since last August, was found dead in her burning Upperville home on July 9. The Star reported Wednesday that Kearns was a "person of interest" in the case and identified his address as an apartment at 7500 Equinox Landing Court.

A search warrant was filed in Prince William County Circuit Court for an apartment at 7500 Equinox Landing Court shortly after 48-year-old Greenhalgh's body was found. The affidavit for the warrant was sealed.

On Wednesday, Hartman wouldn't confirm whether Kearns was a person of interest. Hartman has said earlier that more than one persons of interest were being investigated and various search warrants had been executed.

"We're still investigating several different leads, so it's still very much an active and open investigation," Hartman said Wednesday afternoon.

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