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Interview: Patrick Richards

Tuesday, September 27, 2011 - 11:00 a.m.

The witness, identified as a student in the English Department at the University of Mississippi, was interviewed in the main campus library. The interview was conducted by Detectives Armstrong and Murphy and was recorded on a portable tape recorder with the witness's knowledge and consent.

Participants:

  • Detective T. Armstrong
  • Detective S. Murphy
  • Patrick Richards

Detective Murphy: I hope we're not catching you at a bad time.

Patrick Richards: No, that's OK. I've got some time before my next class.

Detective Murphy: Could you state your name and address, please?

Patrick Richards: Patrick Richards. I live here on campus in Kincannon Hall.

Detective Murphy: What are you studying here at the university?

Patrick Richards: I'm an English major.

Detective Murphy: Did you know Kimberly Pace?

Patrick Richards: Sure. I had one of her classes as a freshman, and I'm in one of her courses now.

Detective Armstrong: You must have liked her a lot.

Patrick Richards: She was OK. It's a small department, Detective. It's not unusual to have the same professor several times.

Detective Murphy: How would you characterize your relationship with her?

Patrick Richards: It was fine, I guess. She wasn't one of my favorite instructors, but I didn't have anything against her. I guess I would just say we were kind of in the middle. I didn't particularly like her, but I didn't particularly dislike her either.

Detective Murphy: When was the last time you saw Dr. Pace?

Patrick Richards: I think I passed her in Bondurant Hall last Friday, a couple of days before she was found dead. I was going to see my advisor.

Detective Armstrong: And who is your advisor?

Patrick Richards: Dr. Collins.

Detective Murphy: OK, Patrick. We're aware of the column you wrote in The Daily Mississippian. Many people seem to think you were directing your criticism towards Dr. Pace. Do you have any proof of your accusations?

Patrick Richards: I am so sick of that whole thing! I didn't write that column!

Detective Murphy: Is there another Patrick Richards on campus?

Patrick Richards: Not one of which I am aware. But I didn't write that column. I didn't necessarily like Professor Pace, but I certainly wouldn't attack her like that, or anyone else on the faculty for that matter.

Detective Murphy: So why would someone put your name on it?

Patrick Richards: I don't know. Maybe they thought it was funny.

Detective Murphy: But why you?

Patrick Richards: I've been pretty critical of the way certain students at this school approach their studies. Fraternity and Sorority Row are full of kids who get buckets of money from their parents to just come here and party. I hold down a couple of jobs to pay my way here. And my feelings about those spoiled rich kids are no secret. I guess whoever wrote the column thought it sounded like something I would say.

Detective Armstrong: Do you have any idea who might have written that column?

Patrick Richards: Obviously, I can't prove anything. But I would bet it was Carter Nichols.

Detective Murphy: Why do you say that?

Patrick Richards: Because he's enough of an ass to do something like that.

Detective Armstrong: Tell us about this Carter guy.

Patrick Richards: He's some rich kid. Drama student. He's precisely the type of student I can't stand. And he loves to taunt me and everyone else about it.

Detective Murphy: How?

Patrick Richards: He's always talking – loudly – about how he didn't do his homework because he was picking up a new BMW or something over the weekend. His grades are atrocious, but he's even proud of that. He flaunts his bad grades as a way of showing everyone just how little school means to him. He strolls through the library and makes fun of us who are actually studying.

Detective Murphy: Besides what sounds like a lovely personality, why do you think he did it?

Patrick Richards: Because he kept talking about it. He just kept bringing it up. After the discussion had died down, he would always start it up again. He just seemed so interested in this whole column business. And normally he goes to such great lengths to let you know just how disinterested he is in campus matters.

Detective Armstrong: Did you ever ask him if he wrote it?

Patrick Richards: One day before class, he was going on and on about it. I said something along the lines of, "Carter, I'm beginning to wonder if you didn't write that column... you seem so proud of it." He just smiled and said no, that he didn't. But he didn't make much of an effort to protest.

Detective Murphy: Did you and Dr. Pace ever talk about the culumn?

Patrick Richards: Yes. I went to her office and told her that I didn't do it. She said that she understood. She even apologized to me and said that her letter in response had been a product of anger and defensiveness. But that after she thought about it more, she didn't think it was me. She didn't seem to blame me.

Detective Murphy: Would you mind giving us a writing sample so we can compare it to the column?

Patrick Richards: Certainly. I can email you some of the columns I wrote that appeared before that one I didn't write.

Detective Murphy: That'd be great. Thank you. OK, finally, where were you on the evening of Saturday, September 24th and early morning on Sunday, September 25th?

Patrick Richards: I was at work. I work at Pizza Hut on University. I was there from 6:00 until close, and then I went home. Got home around 1:00 a.m.

Detective Murphy: Can anyone corroborate that?

Patrick Richards: Well, you could check with the restaurant. They'll have my time card. And my roommate can vouch for what time I got to the dorm.

Detective Murphy: OK, thanks. We have your contact information, so we'll be in touch if we have any more questions.

Patrick Richards: Not a problem. Bye.

End interview: 11:13 a.m.

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