A woman who had an intimate relationship with murder defendant William (Bull) Evans-Smith testified yesterday that several weeks before Evans-Smith's wife was strangled he told her "things were not terribly happy at home" and spoke of "doom and gloom."
Frederica Bunge, 59, whose testimony came on the fourth day of the trial of the retired Army colonel on a murder charge in Loudoun County Circuit Court, said her relationship with Evans-Smith began in 1973 and ended last year.
"Our sexual relationship piggybacked on our professional relationship," said Bunge, who from 1969 until last year worked closely with Evans-Smith, director of Foreign Area Studies at American University. "I can count on my fingers the times I spent the night with him."
Bunge, who said she had "the utmost respect" for Evans-Smith, 64, testified for the prosecution that she left her position as chairwoman of the Asian division of the studies program in the spring of 1984 for a trip to Europe and to pursue a graduate degree at the University of California at Berkeley.
Upon her return from Europe, she said, Evans-Smith came to her house in Poolesville to help her pack before she moved to California. She said she decided to leave a day early. "I didn't want to linger around," she said. "I didn't want to know how little it mattered to him that I was gone."
She said she maintained contact with Evans-Smith for a time. "I was making a big leap," said Bunge, whose husband died in 1975. After her departure, she said, Evans-Smith and his wife, Barbara, 64, also went to Europe for a vacation. Afterward, Bunge said Evans-Smith told her the trip had not gone well.
He made a reference to "the absence of a sexual relationship on the trip," she said. "He mentioned that Barbara lay in the bottom of the car when they went over the Alps" because of her fear of heights.
Bunge said that after eight weeks at Berkeley she asked Evans-Smith not to call or write to her, and he honored her request until December or early January.
After that he traveled to California on business and to visit and wanted her to come back and work on a book about the Soviet Union, she said.
While she said the offer was tempting, she decided she had already taken a step oward rebuilding her life, and "I told him no." She said he offered to resign his post and let her take his job.
"I couldn't possibly have filled his shoes," she said of Evans-Smith. She remarked that Evans-Smith "loved his wife very much" and was proud of his daughters.
Two of Evans-Smith's three daughters sat together in the second row of the almost-filled courtroom yesterday.
Bunge testified that she talked by phone with Evans-Smith several weeks before April 15, the date his wife was found strangled with a pair of panty hose in the upstairs bedroom at Crooked Run Farm, their Loudoun County estate.
During questioning by the prosecutor, Loudoun County Commonwealth's Attorney William Burch, she said the call was "wholly about business."
Later, under further questioning by Burch, she said Evans-Smith told her "things were not terribly happy at home," and the rest of the conversation concerned business. When pressed further, she said Evans-Smith said there was "gloom and doom" at the farm.
Burch has been attempting to prove that Evans-Smith killed his wife and planned a "calculated cover-up." Evans-Smith maintains his innocence.
Howard asked Bunge if she had ever given Evans-Smith an ultimatum demanding that he leave his wife.
"Unequivocally no," she replied
Howard then asked if they had ever discussed marriage, and she answered: "I felt there was no future for the two of us. Such a marriage is not well based."