BERRYVILLE — A “City Confidential” episode about the murder of former Berryville Town Council member Gail Smith airs at 10 p.m. today on the A&E cable television channel.

Each hour-long episode of the program, narrated by actor Mike Colter, tells the story behind a crime, the ensuing investigation and effects it had on the community, according to Erika Winkler, a publicity coordinator for A&E Networks.

In July 2009, Smith was found dead from a gunshot wound at her Berryville home. Five years later, her brother, Timothy Smith Jr., formerly of Burkeville, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder and use of a firearm in commission of a felony. Her sister, Deborah Smith, also formerly of Burkeville, pleaded guilty to felony perjury and misdemeanor obstruction of justice.

The Smiths later were sentenced to 23 years‘ and eight years in prison, respectively. Those were the maximum sentences possible at the time, based on their plea agreements.

Tony Sharpe, formerly of Farmville, also was charged with first-degree murder in connection to Smith’s death. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison after he confessed to shooting her.

The murder apparently was committed over control of the $750,000 estate of the Smith siblings’ father, Berryville Police Chief Neal White has said based on court testimony.

“It was a terrible, terrible tragedy,” Greg Harvey, the episode’s producer, said in a phone interview on Wednesday. “Her demise was shocking” because of her popularity around town.

Along with her council duties, Smith was well-known for her community involvement. For instance, Harvey noted, she volunteered at the Barns of Rose Hill, and she helped to establish at Grace Episcopal Church a care program for Alzheimer’s patients.

Smith was “very civic-minded,” said Harvey. “She gave back so much to the community.”

That sparked the show’s interest in the case, he said during an interview last year when a production crew was in Berryville to do interviews and film scenes of the town.

Those interviewed, and who will be featured in the episode, include White; former Berryville Police Department and Clarke County Sheriff’s Office detectives who investigated the case; former county commonwealth’s attorney Suni Mackall; Gwen Malone, a friend of Smith’s; Mayor Jay Arnold and the Rev. Dwight Brown, a former pastor at Grace Episcopal. Harvey mentioned that the show interviewed Brown at his current home in Hawaii.

Everyone interviewed “was really special,” he said, in their remembrances of Smith and their willingness to talk about the tragedy.

“It’s touching that she is remembered so well,” he said.

Tonight’s episode is titled “Death Comes to Battletown,” a reference to Berryville’s original name. Harvey said the show also will discuss some of the town’s history.

A&E is on Comcast cable channel 45.

— Contact Mickey Powell at

(1) comment

B Weller

I won't be able to watch it as I only have rabbit ears.

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