As 61 year-old Sharron Diane Crawford Smith lay dying of a terminal illness, she knew she needed to get something off her chest. However, nobody was expecting her to say this…
Just days before she died, Crawford confessed to the 1967 murders of Constance Smootz Hevener, 19, and Carolyn Hevener Perry, 20. The three women were working at an ice cream parlor together, and Crawford said she shot both women in the head at work after they mocked her for being a lesbian.
“That was different in 1967 than it is today, extremely different,” said Commonwealth’s Attorney Raymond C. Robertson, according to Fox. “It would have been a matter that it would have had different ramifications that it would today if it had been made public.”
Smith made sure that the mystery would outlive her, however, as she claimed the lead detective, who is now dead, helped her cover up her crime.
“If he had anything to do with covering this thing up,” Robertson said, “we are hell-bent on finding out what it was and why.”
Smith claimed she gave the .25 caliber pistol she used in the shooting to Detective David Bocock, and they buried it. Bocock died in 2006, leaving behind a wife who is now in a nursing home. As for Smith, she died four days after she confessed her crime to police.
“We know that’s what she told us and we’re trying to corroborate every aspect of her confession,” Robertson said, adding that while he did not know how well Smith and Bocock knew each other, he did know that she practiced shooting at his farm.
After the murders, Smith stole $138 from the ice cream parlor’s register, leading police to believe it was a robbery gone wrong. They focused their investigation on William Thomas, who told them he saw two men running from the scene. While Thomas was eventually acquitted of the crime, the murder indictment remained on his record for over 40 years, until Smith confessed.
“My loss is not comparable to what happened to those families,” Thomas said recently. “Regardless of whether those girls — there may been some things they were doing that may or may not have been correct — but certainly they didn’t do anything to deserve what happened to them, and those families didn’t do anything to deserve what Dave Bocock put them through.”
After her crime, Smith married and had two daughters, then moved out of the area. Towards the end of her life, she returned to the area to move in with a woman, who was her partner at the time of her death.
Staunton Police Chief Jim Williams said that although authorities will continue to investigate this case, they may never know the whole truth.
“While we are continuing to investigate this matter,” Williams said, “the fact remains that there will likely be questions surrounding this case we will never be able to answer.”