This first part of this story, Before the Murder – Smith’s Story – Part 1, by Judie Holcomb-Pack, ran in last week’s Chronicle. This two-part series explores the exhibit, Smith & Libby: Two Rings, Seven Months, One Bullet, currently on display at Reynolda House. Every family has its secrets and tragedies. Here is this one.
Initially the death of Reynolds’ heir, Zachary Smith Reynolds, was believed to be a suicide, but the investigation into the shooting proved that wasn’t the case.
After the news of Reynolds’ death started making national headlines, it was determined by the coroner that the death wasn’t a suicide. And in August of that year, Reynolds’ wife of seven months, Broadway torch singer Libby Holman, and his longtime friend and secretary, Albert “Ab” Walker, were indicted for murder.
According to Phil Archer, deputy director of Reynolda House Museum of American Art and curator of the Smith & Libby exhibit, contradicting statements from Holman and Walker on what happened the night of Smith’s death made them obvious suspects. Libby was on the porch with Smith when the fatal gunshot was fired. And it was reported that Walker heard the gunshot, but it isn’t clear where he was...