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Jury Begins Deliberations In University Official’s Murder Trial

August 27, 1985

LEESBURG, Va. (AP) _ The fate of an American University official charged in the strangulation death of his wife rested today with a Loudoun County Circuit Court jury, following a 10-day trial.

After failing to reach a verdict in its initial four hours of deliberation Monday, the panel was resuming deliberations today in the case of William Evans-Smith, head of the university’s foreign area studies program.

He is accused of murdering his 64-year-old wife at their farmhouse and then trying to make it appear that she was the victim of a rape and burglary.

The 65-year-old former Army officer was described by prosecutor William Burch said Evans-Smith as a man under stress from his job and the end of an 11-year affair with a coworker.

″We have a defendant with a year’s pressure built up ... and something snapped,″ he said.

But defense lawyer Blair Howard said authorities had charged the wrong person in the April 15 killing.

″This is a case, quite frankly, of imagination,″ he said.

If convicted of first-degree murder, Evans-Smith could face up to 20 years to life in prison. On a second-degree murder conviction, he could receive five to 20 years.

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