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Follow-up Interview: Carl Dixon, Business partner of Devlin Beauchamp

Thursday, February 4, 2010 - 10:30 a.m.

Pursuant to serving a search warrant and seizing evidence pursuant to that search as it relates to the Beauchamp homicide, Carl Dean Dixon of 818 Country Club Circle was re-interviewed by Dets. Ted Armstrong and Sam Murphy. The interview was conducted at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Office. Also in attendance was Mr. Dixon's attorney Jack Diamond, Esquire.

Detective Sam Murphy
Detective Ted Armstrong
Carl Dixon
Jack Diamond

Detective Sam Murphy: For the record sir, could you please state your name and address?

Carl Dixon: My name is Carl Dean Dixon. I live at 818 Country Club Circle, Oxford.

Detective Sam Murphy: Thank you. Let the record reflect that Mr. Dixon also has counsel present, Attorney Jack Diamond.

Jack Diamond: Detective, for the record, I would like to state this is absolutely ridiculous. You don't honestly believe Mr. Dixon to be a suspect in Mr. Beauchamp's murder, do you?

Detective Sam Murphy: Mr. Dixon is a witness in this case. The degree of his involvement, hopefully, will be determined in this interview.

Jack Diamond: Go ahead with your questions.

Detective Sam Murphy: Mr. Dixon, we have some follow up questions which we will cover first. Then we are going to discuss the evidence that was seized and marked for evidence pursuant to the search warrant that was served upon your residence at 818 Country Club Circle, February 2, 2010. Do you understand?

Carl Dixon: Yes ma'am.

Detective Sam Murphy: On January 3, 2010 you went to Mr. Devlin Beauchamp's home in order to discover why he had not arrived at the restaurant. Upon arrival and entrance into Mr. Beauchamp's home you discovered his body, face down in the bathtub. Is that correct?

Carl Dixon: That is correct.

Detective Sam Murphy: Given the condition and position of the body, Mr. Dixon, why do you allege to have checked the pulse of the victim?

Carl Dixon: I don't allege anything, Detective. I checked his pulse. Pure and simple.

Detective Sam Murphy: Did he appear to be alive to you, sir?

Carl Dixon: No ma'am, he did not... but neither did my own father when he was passed out drunk as a skunk when I was a child. The man appeared to be dead as a doornail, but he wasn't. I knew he was dead - Dev I mean. I guess I knew in my heart, but I had to check. Why doesn’t anybody think that makes any sense?

Jack Diamond: All right, Carl. No need to get worked up. He wanted to make sure. Got it, Detective?

Detective Sam Murphy: I got it, Jack. And you claim that after you checked his pulse, you went down stairs, called 911, then went out back and vomited?

Carl Dixon: Yes ma'am. Something wrong with that too?

Detective Ted Armstrong: The events as you described them, sir, seem rather out of the ordinary. Most people might have run out of the room as soon as they saw the victim and "lost their lunch" as you put it. It seems unusual someone would have the presence of mind to check a pulse, find a phone, make a call and then neatly go outside and vomit, so's not to upset anything.

Carl Dixon: I don't know what to tell you, Detectives. I'm good under pressure I guess. When I was a child, I often found my mother beaten and unconscious with my father nowhere around. Who do you suppose called for help? My own wife died in our bedroom, at the foot of our bed. I have seen many things that most people don't have to. I have learned to restrain myself long enough to get help. Once I did everything I thought I could for Dev, I went outside. Not so's I wouldn't mess things up, but to get some air. I didn't intend to vomit - that just happened.

Jack Diamond: Really Murph, are you serious with these questions?

Detective Sam Murphy: Who besides yourself, Mr. Beauchamp and the two cooks Joe Hampton and Tom Bridges have keys to the restaurant?

Carl Dixon: No one. Except possibly Mickie Webster. Yes, she probably has, since she sometimes has to go to the restaurant when it isn't open - during regular hours.

Detective Sam Murphy: What type of circumstance would that be? As a for instance?

Carl Dixon: To rework the schedule if someone reports they are sick or can't make it in to work their shift. If someone has forgotten their key or the cooks no show for their shifts. Occasionally she will pick up bakery deliveries and bring them in before anyone is there. Or fresh flowers, say if we are catering a party in the banquet room.

Detective Sam Murphy: Anyone else?

Carl Dixon: No.

Detective Sam Murphy: Your daughter, Kat, would she have a set of keys? You or Mr. Beauchamp give her a set?

Carl Dixon: No ma'am, there would be no plausible reason for her to have a set of keys. She is a part time employee and is never required to be there during hours when the restaurant isn't open.

Detective Sam Murphy: I get it. You're aware that in the search conducted at your restaurant, Home Plate, two baseball bats were found under the bar and taken into evidence?

Carl Dixon: I did hear about that. Odd, since we only ever had one under there as far as I know... Maybe somebody left it there after a game. Or Dev was always bringing stuff in....

Detective Sam Murphy:  The point is, Mr. Dixon, that one had traces of blood on it, sir. Can you offer an explanation?

Carl Dixon: No ma'am, I can't. Like I said, we only ever have the one under the bar. I guess one of our employees could have cut themselves when behind the bar... it does happen from time to time. Glasses get broken, knives slip... Generally speaking, the bat are kept there as a deterrent.

Detective Sam Murphy: Deterrent to what?

Carl Dixon: People get rowdy when they drink sometimes or even overly friendly with our female employees. Dev always thought a big ol' baseball bat delivered the message pretty well. And so did I for that matter.

Detective Ted Armstrong: The bat ever get used?

Carl Dixon: You mean to strike somebody? Hell no! I suspect if they had you'd have some sort of police report on it. It isn’t funny neither, Detective. My partner was killed with one of these. I don't like the inference.

Detective Ted Armstrong: I assure you, Mr. Dixon, I'm not laughing. My question is, there is blood on one of these bats, and there are two when there is only supposed to be one. Aside from an injured employee inadvertently bleeding on it, is there any other reason that you know of that there could be blood on it? And/or why there are now two?

Carl Dixon: No, none that I know of. I don't know. I would only be guessing. I can tell you I didn't put it there, if that's what you're asking.

Detective Sam Murphy: Moving right along. We found a letter in your home, written to Mr. Beauchamp from Franklin Enterprises, discussing the possibility of franchising Home Plate. Mind telling us how you got possession of it?

Carl Dixon: I fished it out of the trash at the restaurant.

Detective Sam Murphy: Is that what you and Mr. Beauchamp were arguing about on January 2nd?

Carl Dixon: Yes, among other things.

Detective Sam Murphy: Okay, let's take up the letter first. When did you find it and when did you confront Mr. Beauchamp about it?

Carl Dixon: I found it about a week and a half before he died. It just caught my eye for some reason. I wondered if he did it on purpose, you know, put it there so I would find it? Anyway it pissed me off because we had gone over this before...

Detective Sam Murphy: Gone over it before? This was the second time Mr. Beauchamp was considering an offer to franchise?

Carl Dixon: More like the fifth or sixth, ma'am. You have to understand, Detective. My partner loved money. He loved spending it and having it and being a big shot. He wanted to franchise the first year we were in business, but I didn't. I knew it would change things - that the restaurant wouldn't be as good as it was being on its own. We argued about this sort of thing for years. I did start to see the sense in it after a while, but I thought we ought to wait it out and see if we really got a good offer.

Detective Sam Murphy: Your daughter Kat, does she know that you two had argued this for years?

Carl Dixon: I don't see how. I never told her about it. It was business and I wouldn't have discussed it with her. Even though she works for the restaurant part time, she doesn't know a lick about the management or management decisions unless they directly affect her - like if we changed the menu or the hours or something like that.

Detective Sam Murphy: Okay, so if she had learned about this, would it have upset her?

Carl Dixon: It might have. I don't know. Are you saying she knew about it?

Detective Sam Murphy: You must have been upset about it, since you obviously contacted Mr. Diamond and sought his legal opinion on your standing should Mr. Beauchamp decide to franchise.

Carl Dixon: And Mr. Diamond's legal opinion was that I was protected and Mr. Beauchamp could not go forward without my consent. I'm not a fool, Detective. I wasn't about to leave things to chance. So, when I got the answer to my question, yes, I did confront Dev. I couldn't believe he accepted money from them people...

Detective Sam Murphy: Because he didn't give you any portion of the money?

Carl Dixon: No ma'am, I am not like my partner. I don't live for money. I was incredulous because legally he didn't have the right to make deals and he knew it. He was bilking these people, thinking he would be able to keep the money without making a deal. He'd done it before and barely squeaked by without getting sued.

Detective Sam Murphy: Where'd you leave the discussion?

Carl Dixon: He told me he was going to give the money back. I was skeptical, but I had to give him the chance to do the right thing.

Detective Sam Murphy: But the argument did continue, didn't it, Mr. Dixon? Until Mr. Beauchamp ultimately stormed out of the restaurant that night. Correct?

Carl Dixon: Yes, you're right it continued... We moved on to more personal things...

Detective Ted Armstrong: Your daughter and Mr. Beauchamp?

Carl Dixon: Uh huh. I know you found the pictures and the bill from Pam Thompson. I had them followed. I wanted to know if he was having a... relationship with my daughter.

Detective Sam Murphy: Why didn't you just ask your daughter?

Carl Dixon: Because on this topic, my daughter has not always been forthcoming. She thinks I am over-protective... and I guess I am. I guess I didn't feel she would be truthful with me about it.

Detective Sam Murphy: What was Mr. Beauchamp's response?

Carl Dixon: He insisted there was nothing going on. I showed him the pictures. He explained that they were just talking. I don't know why, I just believed him. I've known him too long - I can tell when he's lying. He said he was having woman troubles and he wished it was as simple as Kat's crush on him, but it wasn't.

Detective Ted Armstrong: What did he mean by that?

Carl Dixon: I don't know. I guess I figured he meant him and Mickie. They both took the break up pretty hard. And that Paulette woman from years ago, I don't think he ever really got over her. I suspect that had a lot to do with the break up for him and Mickie - and why he was always surrounding himself with women. I don't know. Don't ask me to explain my partner's psychology because I just can't.

Detective Sam Murphy: So, you believed him about your daughter, yet still you fought?

Carl Dixon: Yeah. I admit I was riled up about the Franklin outfit and I just blew my top. Then he stormed out. A few minutes later, I cooled off. I called him to apologize for overreacting and to discuss the Franklin deal more - you know, how we were going to handle it... but he didn't answer the call. I figured he was pissed and wasn't answering on purpose. After work, I went to get smokes and I drove around a little... I felt bad. I thought about going by his place but it was late. I figured I'd talk to him the next day. I guess that's why I was feeling so bad and tired on Sunday. Frankly, I felt like an ass. Then when I got to the restaurant and found out he hadn't come in, I figured...

Detective Sam Murphy: That he was still fuming over your argument? Pouting, if you will?

Carl Dixon: Yeah, something like that. I absolutely didn't expect what I found. That's the last thing... He was my friend... my closest friend... Do you understand what it's like to find your friend, dead in his own home?

Jack Diamond: Carl, you need a minute? We can take a break.

Carl Dixon: I'm okay. Let's just keep going.

Detective Sam Murphy: We're almost done here, sir. In brief, can you tell what you did the day Mr. Beauchamp was killed?

Carl Dixon: Mostly I did what I always do. I got up about 7:00, had some coffee, read the paper. Then about 9:00, I headed out to the restaurant.

Detective Sam Murphy: Wasn't that earlier than you usually went in?

Carl Dixon: On Saturdays we have deliveries, ordering, all kinds of things that make it a long day. That day I had to get a steam table from Memphis. Now, usually we use Mickie's truck for that sort of thing. I guess someday we ought to just purchase one for the restaurant... Anyway, I called her up and asked her about using the truck and she says, sorry lent it to a friend for the weekend so they could move.

Detective Sam Murphy: Did she mention the friend's name? The person she lent her truck to?

Carl Dixon: Not that I can recall. She might have, I don't know. All I know is that I had to go to the U-Haul and rent a truck and drive up to Memphis and get the steam table. I left Oxford about 11:00 and I guess I didn't get back until 3:00 or 4:00. It was a miserable day. Dev was still at lunch, we had a hell of a time getting the damn thing in the kitchen...

Detective Ted Armstrong: One of those days?

Carl Dixon: In a word, yes. One of those days I just should have stayed in bed with the covers over my head. Everything I touched that day turned to mud, if you know what I mean.

Detective Ted Armstrong: And your daughter was out of town that day?

Carl Dixon: Yeah, she went to Jackson to see her girlfriends. Left early Friday evening. Swung by the restaurant to say good-bye before she left, about 5:30 I think.

Detective Ted Armstrong: But she was home Saturday night when you arrived home from work? That didn't surprise you?

Carl Dixon: No. She called the restaurant and left a message saying she was coming home early, guess she didn't feel well.

Detective Ted Armstrong: Who did she leave the message with?

Carl Dixon: I think it was Isabel Penner, the bartender. I may still have the written message in my office somewhere.

Detective Sam Murphy: And when you arrived home and the light under her door came on, you were confident it was your daughter?

Carl Dixon: Yes ma'am. Who else could it have been? She often hears me, when I get home late and turns on her light. It's sort of a routine with us.

Detective Ted Armstrong: And you didn't hear her say good night?

Carl Dixon: No, though she could have. My little girl barely speaks above a whisper when she's tired. The door to her room was closed. How would I have heard her if she had whispered good night?

Jack Diamond: Are we through here?

Detective Sam Murphy: Just one more question. Mr. Dixon, do you have any other children? By your late wife or anyone else?

Carl Dixon: Excuse me? Any other children? No ma'am, absolutely not.

Detective Ted Armstrong: You sound pretty positive.

Carl Dixon: I am.

Detective Ted Armstrong: How's that? I mean, it could be you had another child without knowing about it...

Carl Dixon: Detective, I am a rather old fashioned fellow. There was only ever one woman in my life and that was Valentine. No one before and no one since. You understand? On that issue my partner and I were complete opposites. If Valentine had had another child, I certainly would have been aware of it. From the time we were married until the day she died, we were never apart more than a day or two. If she'd been carrying a child, I'd have known. I promise you, my only child is my daughter Katherine.

Detective Sam Murphy: Okay. Well, thank you for your cooperation Mr. Dixon, Jack. We're done here. But we...

Jack Diamond: We know the drill. Carl's not leaving town. He will be available for more questions if need be.

Detective Ted Armstrong: Good, long as we're on the same page.

Jack Diamond: We are. Have no doubt.

Interview ends: 12:01 p.m.