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Follow-up Interview: W. Ronald Douglas, Beauchamp's attorney

Friday, February 12, 2010, 3:45 p.m.

The witness, W. Ronald Douglas, was the victim's attorney. Sheriff's Detectives Sam Murphy and Tim Armstrong interviewed Mr. Douglas at his office, 1021 Van Buren Avenue, Oxford, MS.

Detective Sam Murphy
W. Ronald Douglas

Detective Murphy: Thank you for meeting with us again, Mr. Douglas.

Ronald Douglas: Certainly.

Detective Murphy: Were you aware of your client, Devlin Beauchamp, being in any danger?

Ronald Douglas: I'm not sure that I know what you mean.

Detective Murphy: Was there anyone that Mr. Beauchamp was fighting with, arguing with? Anyone who might want to cause him harm?

Ronald Douglas: I believe we've been over this before.

Detective Murphy: Yes, but during our search of Mr. Beauchamp's home, we found two letters addressed to him and signed by you. You seemed very concerned about his well-being.

Ronald Douglas: Well, yes. There were some delicate matters that Devlin was involved in, revolving around a woman named Posner.

Detective Murphy: Natalie Posner?

Ronald Douglas: Yes, that's the one. I'm not sure how much detail I can give here. Devlin wasn't terribly forthcoming about the situation, so I don't know much. But he also didn't want me telling anything to the police, so I have to be careful to respect his wishes.

Detective Murphy: I understand.

Ronald Douglas: Let's just say that Devlin came to me in the early part of the fall with some concerns that this Natalie person might be in Oxford and using a fake identity. I got the idea that this person may have been a fugitive from the law, but he didn't explicitly say that.

Detective Murphy: And what was your advice?

Ronald Douglas: You have the letters. Basically, I just told him that, without knowing more details, I couldn't give any direct advice. I told him to be careful and to please give me more information.

Detective Murphy: Did Mr. Beauchamp ever provide you with more details?

Ronald Douglas: In a way. At the end of December, he told me that his fears had been confirmed. He never divulged the actual details. He just said, "My fears were correct." He was nervous and scared, and he felt a bit guilty. As though he should have been able to handle the situation.

Detective Murphy: What was your advice at that point?

Ronald Douglas: I suggested that we turn the matter over to the authorities. He didn't really want to do that. He was worried about what might happen to the woman.

Detective Murphy: Did you ever learn the true identity of this mystery woman?

Ronald Douglas: No. Devlin kept wavering. One minute, he seemed to want to tell me and for us to go to the police. Other times, he acted like it would just go away on its own. Or as though he could take care of the situation himself.

Detective Murphy: Did you ever think of contacting my department directly?

Ronald Douglas: No. Of course, Devlin's conversations with me were protected by the attorney-client privilege. I could have only come to you if I had factual evidence that a crime was being planned. I had nothing of the sort. In fact, what would I have told you? My client seemed to be scared of some woman, but I didn't know who or where she was or why exactly he was scared of her? That's not very much to go on. I had no name, no details, no facts, nothing.

Detective Murphy: Can you speculate as to who the person might be?

Ronald Douglas: I'm not even going to try. Devlin came into contact with many women. Some were customers at the restaurant, some played on his softball team, some worked for him, and he frequently dated different women. If I tried to guess, I'd just be throwing darts in the dark.

Detective Murphy:I don't mean to sound rude, but you don't seem to know very much about your client.

Ronald Douglas: As I said, Devlin really didn't give me much to go on. What few details he provided, he explicitly requested that I not tell the police. Even though he has passed on, my main responsibility is to honor my client's wishes. So, I'm kinda on a tightrope here.

Detective Murphy: Okay, I understand. Thank you for your time.

Interview ends: 4:08 p.m.