Left cold for years, the case gained new life in June when Joyce Bradshaw, 74, of Verona, told an investigator that she remembered the suspect making a threat and revealing a pistol several days before the shooting at Highs Ice Cream on North Augusta Avenue.
“We were sitting there eating a hamburger and she told me to open up the glove compartment of her car, and she said: ‘I have a gun in there’ ... she said she had a bullet in there ... for a girl that lived on Grubert Avenue and her last name was Hevener,” Bradshaw said.
Several days later, Hevener and Perry were shot at around closing time at the ice cream stand, where both victims worked.
Bradshaw went to police and named the woman.
“In a couple of days [police] said they had checked her out and that she had passed a polygraph test and that the bullets didn’t match the gun,” Bradshaw said. “I did not believe that ... I always felt that she was guilty. But I couldn’t go back to the police because they didn’t believe me.”
In June, one man began to believe.
“When I first became involved, I was friends with a person close to the police department who sent me on some pretty good leads,” said Lowell Sheets, of Staunton, a distant relative of the victims who began looking into the case in 2001. “Before Ms. Bradshaw came forward, we were really just right back where we started from, basically, wondering about who could have been present that night.”
Sheets did not want to interfere with Staunton police, but he said recent rumors about potential suspects alarmed him.
“It’s time,” he said, “to come forward.”
Roy Hartless, who retired in 2005 after 33 years as a Staunton police investigator and now works as a private investigator, agreed.
His years working the case in and out of the department leads him to believe Bradshaw, Sheets and another investigator close to the case.
“Prior to my retirement ... I had made a commitment to the mother of one of the victims that I would do whatever I could to ensure closure to the families,” Hartless said. “It’s important that the public realize ... literally, police personnel went coast to coast for this investigation …” Police have flown to California for interviews, Hartless said.
But, he adds, “the documentation wasn’t there from the start.”
Asked to reopen the case in 1998, Hartless discovered “red flags.”
The victims’ families, he said, never had been interviewed by police.
Read the full story at NewsVirginian.com.