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Michael O'Connor interview

Monday, May 21, 2012 - 11:00 a.m.

Michael O’Connor is Veronica Smith’s brother-in-law. Detectives Armstrong and Murphy interviewed him at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff’s Department. The interview was recorded with witness’s knowledge and consent.

Participants:

  • Detective T. Armstrong
  • Detective: S. Murphy
  • Michael O’Connor

Detective Murphy: Good morning, Dr. O’Connor. Please take a seat. We’re both sorry for the loss of your sister-in-law.

Michael O’Connor: Thank you. She’ll be missed.

Detective Murphy: Now before we get started, we need your name and address for our records.

Michael O’Connor: My name is Michael O’Connor, and I live at 1471 Short Avenue, Oxford, Mississippi.

Detective Murphy: Did you know about the malpractice suit against Veronica Smith?

Michael O'Connor: Yes, George told me what happened.

Detective Murphy: When was the last time you saw Veronica?

Dr. Michael O’Connor: I saw her at the hospital a few days before she passed away. I asked how she was holding up. Getting slapped with a malpractice suit had to be hard on her.

Detective Murphy: How did she react to your question?

Michael O’Connor: She told me she was OK. We had a short conversation about Haley. Then she left.

Detective Murphy: Were there any changes in her mood?

Michael O’Connor: Not that I saw. Veronica is a tough cookie. It was business as usual for her. I’m sure she was upset about losing a patient, but she’d never commit suicide. She loved her daughter too much to leave her like that.

Detective Murphy: Do you know anything about the text messages Veronica was receiving?

Michael O’Connor: No, Veronica and I didn't discuss things happening in her life.

Detective Armstrong: Do you know how this malpractice suit was affecting Veronica and George’s relationship?

Michael O’Connor: I really don’t know. Veronica and George don’t confide in me about their relationship problems.

Detective Armstrong: Is that because he thinks you’re still in love with his wife?

Michael O’Connor: Of course not. Veronica and I had a thing a long time ago. She chose George, and I accepted it.

Detective Armstrong: Isn’t it true that George stole her away from you when you had plans to marry her?

Michael O’Connor: Yes, it is true I was in a relationship with Veronica first, but I forgave them and got over it a long time ago.

Detective Armstrong: Don’t you still have some resentment against your brother for deceiving you?

Michael O'Connor: No, I love my brother, and things are good between us.

Detective Armstrong: What kind of relationship did you have with Veronica?

Michael O’Connor: Veronica is my sister-in-law. That’s all. We see each other at family gatherings, and I would occasionally visit them at their home for dinner or see her at the hospital.

Detective Armstrong: Isn’t it true that you’re still in love with Veronica and you hate George for taking her away from you? It must have been hard watching him with the woman you loved.

Michael O’Connor: I love my brother. I don't have feelings for Veronica anymore. After she married George, I got over my feelings for her.

Detective Murphy: When was the last time you saw Haley?

Michael O’Connor: I saw Haley the day after her mother died. It broke my heart. She was devastated finding her mother like that.

Detective Armstrong: Did Haley talk about anything concerning her mom that could be important to this case?

Michael O’Connor: Haley and I talked about her mom and how much she loved her. She had concerns that her real father, Wallace Smith, might take her away from George now that her mom was gone. She did mention she had overheard George and her mother talking about having Wallace sign away his rights to her so George could adopt her. Wallace refused. She said her mom was furious at him and told him she would take him to court and she would win because he had abandoned his daughter.

Detective Armstrong: What can you tell us about Wallace Smith?

Michael O’Connor: I met the man once and wasn’t too impressed. Veronica divorced him because he drank too much. He’s not much of a father. He rarely sees Haley. Claims he’s traveling all the time.

Detective Armstrong: Do you think Wallace Smith is capable of harming Veronica?

Michael O’Connor: I can’t say for sure. I know he resented her divorcing him, and he’s very angry about Veronica trying to get him to relinquish his rights to his daughter.

Detective Armstrong: What can you tell us about Veronica’s sister, Elizabeth?

Michael O’Connor: Veronica and Elizabeth have always had a strained relationship. I think Elizabeth is jealous of her sister, and I know Veronica doesn’t trust her. Regardless of how they feel toward each other, Veronica tries to be a good sister.

Detective Armstrong: Where were you the night Veronica died?

Michael O’Connor: I was at the hospital till about 8:00. Then I went home. I was at home the rest of the evening. George phoned me the next morning and told me the news.

Detective Murphy: If you were handling this case, who would you talk to?

Michael O’Connor: I would definitely question her ex-husband Wallace Smith and Kenneth Lemmons the man who filed the suit against Veronica. I think they would both have reasons to want to harm her.

Detective Murphy: Thank you, Dr. O’Connor. We’re finished for now, but we may have to call on you again.

Michael O’Connor: I wish I could be of more help. I know without a doubt Veronica wouldn’t have taken her own life. She had everything to live for.

Interview ends: 11:14 a.m.

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