Setting: family feuds, moonshining, Appalachia 1880s-1940s
* Virginia Historical Society > Moonshining in the Blue Ridge
"JEFF RICHARDS 38 REVOLVER Franklin County
In 1935 Franklin County Deputy Jeff Richards was sent to arrest Jim Smith on theft charges unrelated to the county's moonshine conspiracy. Richards was the alleged treasurer for Sheriff Hodges bribery system. As Richards drove Smith to jail, their car was hit by a hail of shotgun and pistol fire. Richards died in the driver's seat with his pistol in his hand. According to oral history, a bullet caused the slight nick behind the hammer. Smith died a few yards from the car. Two West Virginia brothers with no apparent ties to Franklin County were convicted of the murders. Though never proven, it was widely believed corrupt Franklin County officials arranged Richards' death to keep him from testifying at the trial and to intimidate witnesses and jury members."