Loudoun County Circuit Court Judge Carleton Penn is presiding over the murder trial of William (Bull) Evans-Smith in Leesburg. He was incorrectly identified in a caption that ran in yesterday's Metro section.
An American University researcher testified yesterday that accused murderer William (Bull) Evans-Smith told him that "it would be helpful" if they both told police the same account of what time they met on the morning that Evans-Smith's wife was killed.
James Rudolph's testimony came on the third day of his boss' trial in Loudoun County Circuit Court on a charge of murder in the April 15 strangulation of his wife of 43 years.
Rudolph said yesterday that he met Evans-Smith, director of the university's foreign area studies program, in a parking lot at the school as they arrived for work at 8:30 or 8:35 a.m. on April 15. They chatted briefly about the traffic that morning and went to their offices, Rudolph said.
Shortly after Evans-Smith was indicted later that month, Rudolph said he was vacationing in New Mexico when he received a telephone call from the accused.
"He said that he had told investigators that it was 8:15 when he arrived at work that morning," Rudolph testified. "I told him I remembered 8:35.
"He did state at one point that it would be helpful to him if I remembered the same time he did," Rudolph told the prosecutor, Commonwealth's Attorney William Burch.
Defense attorney Blair D. Howard asked if Evans-Smith specifically asked him to change the time. Rudolph said "No."
A friend of the family found the body of Barbara Evans-Smith between 10:30 and 11 a.m. on the floor of her upstairs bedroom at Crooked Run Farm with pantyhose wrapped three times around her neck and underwear stuffed in her mouth. It appeared she had been raped and the house burglarized, but Burch maintains that the appearance was a "calculated cover-up." Evans-Smith, a retired Army colonel, has pleaded not guilty to the murder charge.
Cpl. Jeffrey Brown, chief investigator of the case for the Loudoun Sheriff's Department, testified yesterday that he was one of two deputies who drove from the 70-acre farm to Washington to notify Evans-Smith of his wife's death. He said Evans-Smith had scratches on his hands.
Evans-Smith wanted to know where his wife was found, whether her body was mutilated or unclothed and who found her, according to Brown. He said he told him she was found by a friend of his daughter in the bedroom, strangled and partly clothed.
Brown said Evans-Smith told him that the couple had followed their usual routine that morning: He got up about 5 a.m., drove down his long driveway to retrieve his newspaper and tended to his horses.
He said he and his wife had dried toast and peaches for breakfast, he changed for work and kissed her goodbye and she waved to him from the upstairs window.
Suddenly, Brown said, Evans-Smith remarked: "Oh my God, the van." He said that when he had gotten his paper that morning he had seen a dark-colored utility-type van down the road from the farm.
At this point, Brown said Evans-Smith "desperately wanted to go back to the house to see his wife." He said they informed him he would not be allowed to see her until the investigation inside was completed.
Brown testified that he and the other investigator followed Evans-Smith back to the farm, near Hamilton off Va. Rte. 725.
Lt. William Wright, one of the deputies, testified yesterday that Evans-Smith "pulled up and wanted to go through . . . . We advised him he couldn't go through until we finished our job." Wright said Evans-Smith was very hyped up, very upset and pacing. "At one point . . . he made a bolt" toward the driveway, he said.
Evans-Smith began to fight and resist, Wright said, and two deputies grabbed him by the arms. "He took his knee and struck me in the groin," Wright testified. He said we were cruel for "letting her lay on the cold floor."
Defense attorney Howard asked Wright: "What was the reason you told him he could not go up to his driveway, to his house to see his wife?" Howard said people sometimes get very emotional when they're told at the scene of a tragedy that they can't do this or that. Wright agreed.
The trial will resume at 9:30 a.m. this morning in Judge Carleton Penn's courtroom in Leesburg.