UPDATE: Man is arrested in Richlands murder


One man was arrested after a woman is found dead when a robbery made a tragic turn. We now know the names of the suspect and victim.  It happened at Flanary Rental Storage in Richlands on December 16, 2015.  Barry Coleman of Richlands is charged with Capital Murder and Robbery.  He is in the Tazewell Regional Jail.  He is accused of brutally stabbing Nancy Smith’s body during an apparent robbery.  Police told 59News he didn’t say anything when he was arrested.  We are told the victim had several stab wounds on her body.  Amy Arnold lives just yards away from the crime scene.

Arnold said, “It’s just tragic that we have to be scared in our own hometown when we’ve never had to be before.  Our prayers and thoughts are going out to the victim’s family.  I just pray for their comfort and they have the whole community behind them to support them.”

We spoke to one woman who wanted to remain anonymous.  She said she lived in Richlands for 56 years and said people didn’t have to lock their doors at night years ago.

She said, “We just all need to put our trust in God and we don’t know why things happen but it’s really a shock for our little town.”

On Thursday December 17, 2015, there was a sign on the door where the body was found.  It said it would be closed until Monday Dec 21, 2015.

There’s no indication of other people being involved in the crime.


According to the Tazewell County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office release the following information: Barry Joe Coleman, age 38, Richlands, Virginia,  has been arrested on one count of Capital Murder and one count of robbery, stemming from an incident that occurred in the Town of Richlands, Virginia in the afternoon hours of December 16, 2015.

Coleman, has been charged with entering the office of Flanary Storage Buildings on Kents Ridge Road and robbing the victim, Nancy Carolyn Smith (age 58), at knife point and then subsequently taking her life.

This case is still currently under investigation by the Richlands Police Department and Virginia State Police and there is no indication of the involvement of any other individuals at this point in the investigation. More information will be released at a later time once the investigation has been completed. Additionally, these charges are not an admission or finding of guilt and the suspect is innocent until proven guilty.

Police are investigating a murder on Kent’s Ridge Road in Richlands.

According to Richlands Police Chief Frank Dorton the call came in at about 4:45 p.m. Wednesday.

Dorton would not release how the victim was killed.

No arrests have been made in the incident, but Dorton reports his officers are interviewing a person of interest.

The name of the victim has not been released, pending family notification.

We’ll continue to follow this developing story and bring more details as they become available. 

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