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Michael O'Connor follow-up interview

Monday, June 18, 2012 - 11:20 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.

Michael O’Connor: I’m not sure how I can help. I’ve told you all I know.

Detective Murphy: 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: Thank you. Now, can you tell us where you were the night Veronica Smith was killed?

Michael O’Connor: Like I told you before I left work around 8:00 and went home and stayed there the rest of the evening.

Detective Murphy: Did anyone see you leave the hospital?

Michael O’Connor: I spoke to Kristy Wills and waved at Mr. Ortega on my way out of the parking lot. I’m sure they can tell you what time I left.

Detective Murphy: What time did you arrive at your home?

Michael O’Connor: I’m not sure of the exact time, but it was just before 9:00. I saw Mrs. Spenser, my neighbor, out in her garden. I’m sure she could verify the time.

Detective Murphy: Did you make any stops on your way home?

Michael O’Connor: No, I was tired. It had been a long day, so I went straight home and stayed in the rest of the evening.

Detective Murphy: How did you get home?

Michael O’Connor: I drove.

Detective Armstrong: Do you think we’re stupid, Dr. O’Connor?

Michael O’Connor: No, of course not.

Detective Armstrong: Happy to hear it. So explain how it took you an hour to get from the hospital to your house if you didn’t stop anywhere. That trip should take what? Five minutes by car?

Michael O’Connor: I don’t know. Maybe I was wrong about the times.

Detective Armstrong: That’s it? That’s all you’ve got?

Michael O’Connor: I don’t know.

Detective Armstrong: Isn’t the ability to know how long things take a vital aspect of your job?

Michael O’Connor: Yes.

Detective Armstrong: So where were you?

Michael O’Connor: I don’t know. Like I said, I guess I got the time wrong.

Detective Armstrong: Which one? The time you left the hospital or the time you got home?

Michael O’Connor: I don’t know.

Detective Murphy: Do you have keys to your brother’s house?

Michael O’Connor: No, I don’t. I had no reason to.

Detective Murphy: Did George ever discuss the malpractice suit with you?

Michael O’Connor: George and I talked about it recently. He asked me if I thought Lemmons would continue the malpractice suit and if he – George – would be liable now that Veronica was gone.

Detective Murphy: What did you tell him?

Michael O’Connor: I said I wasn’t sure, but there was a possibility. I told him to talk to Veronica’s lawyer.

Detective Murphy: Was George worried about the malpractice suit and what would happen if he were liable and lost?

Michael O’Connor: George has been devastated since Veronica’s death. I’m sure the malpractice suit is a concern, but he didn’t discuss it with me beyond what I already told you.

Detective Armstrong: Did you know George and Haley would stand to inherit $1.5 million at Veronica’s death?

Michael O’Connor: First I’ve heard of it, but I’m not surprised. That’s how she was. Veronica always thought of her family first.

Detective Armstrong: Do you think George could have killed his wife for the insurance money?

Michael O’Connor: Of course not! What a horrible thing to say! George loved Veronica. He never would have hurt her.

Detective Murphy: Do you have access to drugs at the hospital?

Michael O’Connor: Of course I do. I have to have them for my patients.

Detective Murphy: Do you have access to ketamine?

Michael O’Connor: Yes, I use it for inductions and general anesthesia.

Detective Armstrong: Have you heard anything about ketamine being missing from the hospital?

Michael O’Connor: No. It’d be hard to take drugs from the hospital. They’re all accounted for and have stringent controls. Everything is computerized.

Detective Murphy: According to the coroner’s report, Dr. Smith had ketamine in her system. How do you think it got there?

Michael O’Connor: I have no idea. I’m shocked. Veronica didn’t do drugs. Someone else had to have given it to her.

Detective Armstrong: Could that someone have been her husband, George?

Michael O’Connor: George loved Veronica. Why would he do that?

Detective Armstrong: Possibly the inheritance. People have killed for less money.

Michael O’Connor: No! George wouldn’t do that. It was someone else.

Detective Murphy: Have other people at the hospital ever talked to you about Veronica? Told you how they felt about her?

Michael O’Connor: I know she wasn’t popular with everyone, but so what? They didn’t really know her.

Detective Murphy: Did anyone in particular ever complain about her to you?

Michael O’Connor: Everyone knows Dwight Kramer didn’t care for her. He knows about my past with Veronica, and I guess he thought I felt the same way he does about her, so he confided in me. But I let him know in no uncertain terms that Veronica was a talented physician and deserved respect. I told him he’d better watch his mouth or he’d have to answer to me.

Detective Murphy: Did you ever tell Veronica or George what Mr. Kramer said?

Michael O’Connor: Of course not. That would just hurt them. Why would I do that?

Detective Armstrong: Well, something like that could open the door for you, couldn’t it? A little rift in their relationship, you could swoop in, be the hero. Maybe win back the woman you loved?

Michael O’Connor: That’s ridiculous. How could you suggest something like that? George is my brother! I’m sorry. I’m too upset to continue this. Can I leave now?

Detective Murphy: Of course and once again we’re sorry for your loss. Thank you for coming in today. You can go now.

Michael O’Connor: Thank you. Please find Veronica’s killer soon. Maybe that will bring some closure to her family. I miss her a lot.

Interview ends: 11:34 a.m.

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