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Justice of the Peace J. Rufus Smith | Tazewell County Circuit Court, Virginia Tazewell County Circuit Court, Virginia

Justice of the Peace

J. Rufus Smith

Tazewell County Circuit Court, Virginia

End of Watch: Wednesday, May 20, 1936

Bio & Incident Details

Age: 60

Tour: 7 months

Badge # Not available

Cause: Gunfire

Weapon: Handgun

Offender: Sentenced to 8 years

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Justice Rufus Smith was shot and killed by a Virginia state game warden while investigating a car that was blocking the roadway. As Justice Smith approached the vehicle the game warden, who was operating the car, and two other men exchanged words with him.

The game warden then opened fire, striking Justice Smith two times. Despite being mortally wounded, Justice Smith was able to return fire, but did not strike the men.

The shooting took place on the Tazewell County / Buchanan County border. The game warden was tried in Tazewell County and sentenced to 8 years in prison for murdering Justice Smith.

Justice Smith had served as the elected justice of the peace for the Maiden Springs District for seven months. He was survived by his wife and 11 children.

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I am so proud to say that I'm your great grand daughter.

Deborah D Smith Lawson
Great Grand Daughter
January 5, 2017


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