Cover-up: Killer said cop buried gun, victims outed her as lesbian

Sharron Diane Crawford Smith (seen left in her 1966 high school year book picture and right in her police mugshot) told police that she was a lesbian and that she killed High's Ice Cream co-workers Carolyn Perry and Connie Hevener because of "taunting and teasing about my lifestyle."

"He said he was gonna take care of the gun."

With these words three weeks before her death from kidney failure, Sharron Diane Crawford Smith confirmed that days after April 11, 1967, the date she killed Carolyn Perry and Connie Hevener with a .25 caliber pistol at High's Ice Cream in Staunton, she went to her "pretty good friend"– Staunton police investigator Davie Bocock– to tell him that she had committed the crime, according to records and transcripts released Friday, January 23 by the Staunton Police Department.

Additionally, Smith told police that she killed Perry and Hevener because the victims made fun of her for being a lesbian.

"Taunting, teasing," Smith explained to police, "about my lifestyle."

According to Hevener's twin brother Carroll Smootz, the new information is painful, but necessary.

"It's another nightmare," says Hevener's twin brother Carroll Smootz, "but the sooner we get the whole truth out the sooner this can be over."

According to Smith in a December 30, 2008, interview, Bocock secured her gun in a metal box and then together they buried it on Bocock's property.

"He said," said Smith, "that he was digging a hole, putting it in there, and that it would be safe."

Bocock had taught Smith, then known as Diane Crawford, how to shoot a gun, by practicing on animals and bottles and cans at his farm near Staunton.

Following the killings, Joyce Bradshaw, Smith's co-worker at Western State Hospital, went to Bocock, lead investigator on the case, with information about a conversation the two of them had had 10 nights before the murder.

"She told me to open up the glove compartment," Bradshaw told the Hook. "So I did, and inside there was a pistol. Diane says, 'There's two bullets in that gun. One of them's for my stepfather. The other is for the Hevener girl.'"

Days after sharing this information with Bocock, Bradshaw says, Bocock visited her at the hospital.

"He told me that the bullets didn't match the gun she showed me," says Bradshaw, "and that she had been cleared."

This confirms the worst fears of Roy Hartless, the former Staunton police investigator who had been a protegĀ© to Bocock, but who told the Hook earlier this month that– based on his work as a private investigator on the case– he had doubts about his former boss.

"There are certainly enough connections between Davie Bocock and Diane Crawford that would have kept him from looking into it further," said Hartless. "That speaks to a cover-up."

Bocock died in 2006. Police say they have been searching his farm with a metal detector and will continue to look for the murder weapon based on Smith's account.

The details of police corruption leave Smootz enraged, particularly given that for the better part of 41 years, Smootz has directed his anger at the man originally charged with the crime, former Buffalo Gap High School teacher Bill Thomas.

"For years, I had hatred for this man," says Smootz. "What if I had done something irrational against him? If I had, and then found out he was the wrong man, I couldn't live with myself."

Moreover, Smootz says he would have liked the chance to meet Smith face to face before she was on death's door.

"I would have liked to tell her that I forgive her," says Smootz. "I tried to go down there and meet her where she was staying, but I never heard back from the nurses."

Smith also confirmed that the motive for killing Perry and Hevener was that they had been "taunting, teasing" her about her "lifestyle." Indeed, Smith told police that she was a lesbian, but that she hadn't had any homosexual affairs at the time of the murder, had not suggested as much to anyone, and that Perry and Hevener were merely stereotyping her.

"How do kids find out about anything?" Smith told police, "I'm sure they didn't understand. It was something new. And something definitely unusual."

Perry's husband, Danny, says he never knew his wife to taunt or tease anyone.

"No, not at all," he says.

Smootz isn't buying Smith's motive.

"My sister never made fun of anyone," says Smootz. "She was really into the Bible at that time, and she might have tried to talk to [Smith] about what the Bible says about it and was trying to help her. But to say that my sister taunted her doesn't sound like my sister at all."

As for the revelations about Bocock's role in delaying justice, Perry says that he's surprised but content to know of it.

"It's the only way we'll get full closure," says Perry, "but we're confident in the current police. They've done a great job."

Staunton Commonwealth's Attorney Ray Robertson told the assembled media that police are continuing to investigate the nature of Bocock and Smith's relationship and attempting to corroborate Smith's account, while reiterating that there was never any attempt on his department's part to hide the painful truth.

"Any implication that the police department would have done anything to protect their own is off base," says Robertson. "If he had anything to do with a cover-up, we are hellbent on finding out why."

At the conclusion of the press conference, police released copies of the entire police file on the 1967 murders to members of the media. According to that file, Bocock obtained a warrant to search Smith's Chevrolet Corvair on June 5, 1967 to search for the murder weapon and the money missing from the High's register. That same day was the day Bradshaw had first relayed her account to Bocock about her conversation with Smith about killing Hevener, according to Bocock's notes.

Those notes also detail a conversation Bradsaw and Smith had "about a week after the murder."

"Diane called Joyce on phone about 9:30," writes Bocock. "Diane told Joyce to heep her mouth shut. Joyce asked her what about and she said, 'You know what about.'"

Additionally, Bocock questioned Smith (then Sharron Diane Crawford) on April 14, 1967, three days after the killings. Smith said that the only trouble she can recall going down at High's was a few nights before the murders, Perry had kicked out some boys from Lee High School for being "too loud and rough."

As Smootz anxiously awaits the outocome of the current Staunton police's investigation of Bocock, no new revelation will bring him the peace of mind he's lacked for so long.

"For most of the last 42 years, I've had to live without a sister," says Smootz. "Now to find out the police knew who did it and didn't do anything is just earth-shattering."

–updated February 9, 2:01pm
CORRECTION: The print edition of this article stated that medical examiner records indicated Hevener was 2 1/2 months pregnant at the time of her death. This information was actually contained in Staunton police investigation notes, and the autopsy report states that Hevener was not pregnant at the time of her death. The information has been corrected in this online edition.


Well, well, well..... Sick Of The Local Rambos is laughing so hard he just spewed Pepsi all over his keyboard! People simply refuse to believe the lies, deception and coverups that take place in local law enforcement. They think it's only something that happens in big cities and on the big screen.

Lindsay, is there any search taking place now for the weapon since they at least know where it was shortly after the murders?

If this report is true, I now have to wonder how many innocent people Bocock sent to jail. I wonder if any cases in which he obtained a conviction will be re-opened? IMHO, they should be.

Dear Sick,

Police said today they've been looking for the gun based on Bocock's property with a metal detector based on Smith's recollections. They say if and when they find something, they'll let us know.

Thanks for reading.

Lindsay Barnes

I doubt seriously if it's still buried. I would also think the Staunton cops would be aware of this. If I was a cop who had buried the smoking gun, I would probably dig it up at a later date and drop it in the deepest lake I could find. Or even worse, dig it up after the heat is off and sell it to somebody. If what Smith confessed to is true, and we have no reason to believe it's not, it looks like Hartless was well founded in his suspicions of Bocock. Good work, Hartless!

There are a lot of unanswered questions here. What happened to the step father..any truth to his crimes against her. Is it possible Bocock had a relationship with Smith or her family. Polygraphs in 1967 in Staunton?...I heard a newspaper employee made have turned in the gun that Bocock gave her police officer husband in 1981.

B. Kelly, if the gun gift rumor is correct, that sure blows my "intelligent cop" theory out of the water. Guess it didn't end up at the deep end of a lake. As sad as this case is, it gets more entertaining with each new press release. I just hope people now believe me when I speak of all the lies, deception and coverups that take place in local law enforcement. I have seen it first hand and could not do one single thing about it because of the "Blue Wall of Silence".

Hey Sick,

You're right except (IMO) the sad fact is it's *easier* to get away with coverups in small towns - good ole boy network goin on. I suspect there's much more from this that will unfold.

Dear B. Kelly,

Yes, according to her interviews with Staunton police just before she died, Smith says she was sexually abused by her stepfather and that's why she bought the gun from Montgomery Ward in the first place. Also, the police file does contain records that she took a polygraph, but not the results of that polygraph, which was administered by the State Police at Appomattox.

Haven't heard anything about the gun other than what Smith told police.

Thanks for reading.

Lindsay Barnes

A new story on CNN seems to indicate Bocock may have later given another cop the gun. That gun has been turned in but doesn't seem to have been tested, yet.

In the movie version of this story, the cop receiving the gun would know it is the firearm that was used in the double murder. But he is so happy to receive a nice little gun for free that he doesn't turn it in or tell anybody about it's past history. :)

If Bocock had the gun, it would have been easier to remove it from his property and discard it without anyone's knowledge, since he knew that Smith could have come clean some time in the future if she wanted to. If tests reveal the turned in gun is the murder weapon I would be stunned at his decision to involve another party including a fellow officer. I think the real question is did Bocock and Smith have a relationship that Smith threatened to reveal if she was arrested. As a police officer, double homicide is something you only cover up if you have something to hide as well. Being sympathetic to lesbian and gay rights in 1967 for an officer to cover this up is not realistic. Bocock was concerned about some truth getting out regarding Smith's knowledge of Bocock's past. It may not have been a sexual relationship, it may have involved other activities Smith knew Bocock was or had previously been involved with.

I have no right to smear Bocock, but if Smith's story is correct, then why would a detective bury a double murder in his town for no other reason than to protect himself. Smith told us why she murdered. I'm more interested in what we don't know about Bocock and it has nothing to do with covering a double murder for Smith on one summer night in 1967. There is a deeper story that Smith knew and was able to capitalize on as a 19 year old girl in rural 1967 Virginia. Forget the murders, what was Bocock up to prior to 1967 in this matter that possibly compromised his position.

B Kelly, I think in the movie version of this story Bocock will be a married cop having an affair with a married woman. This other woman gets pregnant by him. Neither Bocock's wife or the other woman's husband ever know that Smith is actually Bocock's daughter by this woman he was having an affair with. A father could never charge his own daughter with a double murder. :)

The truth would be interesting. Lindsay...can you do some background reporting on Bocock, Smith and her family and the officer that received the gun if it turns out to be the murder weapon. What does Smith's family say about Bocock and how they knew him in the 50's and 60's as well as any other older people in the city. Could he have had issues with the family who owned the High's and wasnt interested in solving the murder and protected Smith. What did Smith's current girlfriend know about the matter based on what Smith may have told her as well as her ex-husband and children.

She may have never told them anything, but older residents surely heard stories about Bocock. The rumors that he covered this murder are nothing compared to why he covered if they suspected he buried it, then they also suspect what the motive was after hearing rumors for 40+ years.

This is an incredibly interesting story.

Since the local police thought it reasonable to ask all black males who met a certain demographic to pony up DNA samples with no evidence of wrong doing why not throw a blanket over the entire police department, retired, past and present and start asking, under oath and with the aid of a lie detector, if they have any knowledge about any crimes that they haven't investigated or come forward with. Surely no argument could be made, based on the actions of the Charlottesville police anyway, that such inquiries shouldn't be made and shouldn't be admissable.

Cletus, I agree with your idea. But make it applicable to any and all former cops, retired cops and present cops that were employed there at the time the murders were committed. Some of the current cops were still in diapers and sucking their thumbs at the time of the murders. :)

This case proves that living impure lifestyles (like lesbianism, promiscuity and Hare Krishna) leads to tragedy. Why can't the gay community learn from folks like this lady, Freddy Mercury, Willi Smith, Bill Goldsworthy, Magic Johnson, et. al. Live clean and live long!

This whole case smells of "dirty cop"--Boccock. Local police knew that there was on some level a cover-up by Boccock. The police department of Staunton was handed ALL the information including the murderers name and location in July of last year. This information was obtained and investigated though countless hours of work by a local interested citizen(Mr. Sheets) and another investigator. They (local police)took until end of November to interview Smith, the murderer. Why? Most probably they did not want to deal with the fact that there was a dirty cop involved in original investigation. They knew the suspect was ill and certainly hoped she would die before they had to cope.

We often think that this whole police cover up business happens only in TV series. Well, it happened in Staunton, Va. in 1967 and is still happening today.

Ellen, it happens everywhere. And not only in murder cases. It happens more often in cases where cops cover for the wrongdoings of one of their own. It's called the "Blue Wall of Silence". If only people really knew what takes place wihin olice departments nationwide. It's sickening.