- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 7, 2002

FRANKLIN, Va. (AP) If convicted killer John Colclasure knew where his victim's body was buried, he apparently took that secret with him to his grave.
Colclasure, 50, who pleaded guilty in 1989 to murdering the brother of Craig County Sheriff B.B. McPherson, died Friday at Southampton Memorial Hospital after he became ill at a Sussex County prison.
When Colclasure was seriously ill with hepatitis C in November, he hinted from his prison infirmary bed to Sheriff McPherson and others that he would reveal where Gene McPherson's body was buried. Colclasure never delivered on his promise, the sheriff said.
"I guess I was hoping he would tell us something, and he didn't," Sheriff McPherson said Monday. "I'm not sorry that he's dead."
Colclasure said he and another man shot Gene McPherson in a murder-for-hire in Craig County. He said the husband of a woman Gene McPherson was seeing at the time paid them $10,000. Neither the husband, who has since died, nor the second man was charged.
Colclasure gave authorities different accounts of where the body was buried, leading them to so many dead ends that his credibility died long before he did. Some close to the case have questioned whether he even knew where the body was.
"He was such a liar, you couldn't believe anything he said," Sheriff McPherson said.
There's still a slight possibility that Colclasure left valuable information behind.
Sheriff McPherson said Colclasure's brother, who lives in Florida, told him that the inmate had promised to leave directions to the body with his personal effects that would be available to the family.
Colclasure's brother promised to call Sheriff McPherson if that happened, but the sheriff had yet to hear from him.
Over the years, police looking for Gene McPherson's body have dug in a state park at Smith Mountain Lake, drained a pond in Botetourt County and tromped through the woods countless times using directions from Colclasure, who received a life sentence for the murder.

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