Man arrested in connection with Richlands murder - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Man arrested in connection with Richlands murder

Barry Joe Coleman Barry Joe Coleman

UPDATE: New details out on Wednesday's murder investigation in Richlands.

Officials say Barry Coleman, 38, of Richlands is charged with the robbery and capitol murder of Nancy Carolyn Smith, 58.

Police say it happened at Flanary Rental Storage on Kents Ridge Road.

Neighbors who live across the street say it's normally quiet and safe.

WVVA spoke with one of the employees who lives lives just a few houses down from the scene.

He says he can't believe a murder happened, not just across the street from, but to such a kind and giving person.

"Nicest lady you'll ever meet in the world," describing Smith, his manager. "I don't know, she just didn't deserve this. Nobody does."

He wants to remain anonymous, but says he is heartbroken over losing Smith. "She was born and raised here and moved back to take care of her mother. She just had a heart of gold, but then somebody to do something like this to her. It's something you never hear around here. It's pretty devastating."

Richlands Police Chief Frank Dorton isn't able to release many details, but he does say that Coleman robbed Smith at knifepoint before taking her life.

"I can tell you she had stab wounds," he tells WVVA. Chief Dorton says Smith's body is at the medical examiner's officer to confirm the cause of death.

He also says that Smith and Coleman may not have been strangers. "Possibility they may have known each other. I can't confirm that, but there's a possibility."

Chief Dorton says he cannot release how they might have known each other or why the robbery took a deadly turn.

Dorton is also not releasing how they caught Coleman or why he targeted the storage facility. He says the investigation is still to young to release more details.

For neighbor Michael Murray, he says he's now on high alert when leaving his pregnant wife at home alone. "It's just scary with a baby on the way, to be in a neighborhood, you don't really think that's going to happen, especially so close."


    TAZEWELL COUNTY -- An arrest has been made in a Tazewell County murder investigation.

    According to the Tazewell County Commonwealth's Attorney's office, Barry Joe Coleman, 38, of Richlands, has been arrested on one count of Capital Murder and one count of Robbery.

    Police say he allegedly entered the office of Flanary Storage on Kents Ridge Road and robbed Nancy Carolyn Smith, 58, at knifepoint before taking her life. It happened Wednesday afternoon.

    The case is still under investigation by the Richlands Police Department and Virginia State Police. Police say there's no indication anyone else was involved at this time.

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