Saturday, January 16, 2010 - 9:30 a.m.
During the search of Devlin Beauchamp's residence, thirteen
addressed to Devlin Beauchamp on Franklin Enterprises, Inc. letterhead
found in the desk in the study [Room #2-1]. Following up on those
Detective Sam Murphy contacted Ms. Vanessa Palmer, the person who
letters, via telephone at Franklin Enterprises headquarters in New
Det. Sam Murphy
Det. Sam Murphy: Ms. Palmer, this is Detective Sam
Murphy with the
Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department in Oxford, Mississippi. Your
come up in an ongoing investigation. I'd like to ask you some questions.
Vanessa Palmer: Yes, of course, Sheriff.
Det. Sam Murphy: I'm not the Sheriff, Ms. Palmer. I'm a
with the Sheriff's Department.
Vanessa Palmer: Oh. I'm sorry, Detective.
Det. Sam Murphy: Not a problem. Ms. Palmer, are you
Mr. Devlin Beauchamp of Oxford, Mississippi?
Vanessa Palmer: Why do you ask?
Det. Sam Murphy: Ms. Palmer, please. If you could just
question. This is part of an official investigation.
Vanessa Palmer: Yes, I'm acquainted with Mr. Beauchamp.
Det. Sam Murphy: And when was the last time you spoke
Vanessa Palmer: Around three weeks ago. We spoke
briefly on the
Det. Sam Murphy: I see. And what was that conversation
Vanessa Palmer: We were discussing a possible joint
Det. Sam Murphy: We have evidence you've been
communicating with Mr.
Beauchamp since October 2009. Was all of that communication related to
possible business venture?
Vanessa Palmer: If you don't mind me asking, Detective,
how do you
know how long I've been speaking with Mr. Beauchamp and of what
interest is it
Det. Sam Murphy: Ms. Palmer, why do you suppose you
from Mr. Beauchamp in three weeks?
Vanessa Palmer: The last time we spoke, he said he
needed some time
to think over what we'd talked about and he'd get back to me when he'd
a decision. Since I haven't heard from him yet, I assume he's still
Det. Sam Murphy: Is there some reason you're being so
coy about what
you and Mr. Beauchamp were discussing?
Vanessa Palmer: Detective, let me put my cards on the
table. I'm sure
you don't intend to, but you're putting me in a difficult position. Any
communications that might have gone on between Mr. Beauchamp and my
be part of a strictly confidential business negotiation. We have a very
reciprocal non-disclosure agreement in place.
Det. Sam Murphy: Well, Ms. Palmer. Let me put my cards
on the table.
The reason you haven't heard from Mr. Beauchamp is not because he's
considering the terms of whatever deal you were discussing. It's
Beauchamp was murdered on January 2nd. My questions are part of the
investigation into his death.
Vanessa Palmer: Oh my god!
Det. Sam Murphy: So you see why it's important that you
questions. Surely, the restrictions of your non-disclosure agreement
binding beyond the death of one of the parties.
Vanessa Palmer: What happened?
Det. Sam Murphy: Mr. Beauchamp was bludgeoned to death
in his home.
Vanessa Palmer: Oh my god...
Det. Sam Murphy: Ms. Palmer? Are you all right?
Vanessa Palmer: What? Oh. Oh yes. What's happened to
Det. Sam Murphy: Excuse me?
Vanessa Palmer: Home Plate. The restaurant. What's
happened with it?
Is it still open?
Det. Sam Murphy: Well... yes, it is.
Vanessa Palmer: Oh good... good.
Det. Sam Murphy: Uh... Ms. Palmer, you seem a little
about the restaurant's fate than Mr. Beauchamp's.
Vanessa Palmer: Oh, of course it's terrible what
happened to Mr.
Beauchamp. But you have to understand, I have a lot on the line with
If it falls through... well, let's just say it would be very bad for me
Det. Sam Murphy: I see. Maybe now you'd like to tell me
kind of deal you and Mr. Beauchamp were discussing?
Vanessa Palmer: Well... I don't know what it could hurt
now. You will
try to keep the details confidential unless it's absolutely necessary,
Det. Sam Murphy: I can't make any promises, Ms. Palmer.
Vanessa Palmer: I suppose so.
Det. Sam Murphy: So, Ms. Palmer? The deal?
Vanessa Palmer: Of course. We were trying to negotiate
deal with Mr. Beauchamp to open additional locations of Home Plate
southeast. We'd paid him for a six-month exclusive right to the
option. So he wouldn't negotiate with other firms at the same time, try
us against each other in a bidding war. You understand.
Det. Sam Murphy: Were any other companies talking with
him that you
were aware of? Did you have some cause for concern in that area?
Vanessa Palmer: The first time Mr. Beauchamp and I
spoke, he told me
he'd had inquiries from other companies over the years, more so
Det. Sam Murphy: And that's why you decided to pay him
exclusive right to negotiate with him?
Vanessa Palmer: Of course.
Det. Sam Murphy: How much did you pay him for that
Vanessa Palmer: Fifty thousand dollars.
Det. Sam Murphy: Really? And how did Mr. Beauchamp's
partner, Carl Dixon, fit into this deal?
Vanessa Palmer: Uh... well, that was a little awkward
and it heavily
influenced our decision to keep the negotiations strictly confidential.
frankly, in my opinion, it's also why Mr. Beauchamp kept stalling on
of our offer. We intended to buy Mr. Dixon out. We didn't feel his
participation gave the venture any added value.
Det. Sam Murphy: "We" being?
Vanessa Palmer: Sorry? I don't understand.
Det. Sam Murphy: Who was the "we" that considered Mr.
Vanessa Palmer: Oh. Franklin Enterprises, of course.
Det. Sam Murphy: Of course. So, what was the status of
the deal when
you and Mr. Beauchamp last spoke?
Vanessa Palmer: We'd sent him a revised proposal and he
considering it. I could fax you a copy of that proposal, if you need it.
Det. Sam Murphy: Is that the one dated December 14,
Vanessa Palmer: Yes, it is. You already have a copy
then? So why are
you asking me all these questions?
Det. Sam Murphy: What
I would like from you, Ms. Palmer, are copies of all the correspondence
Beauchamp sent to you. Could you fax me those?
Vanessa Palmer: Actually, there aren't any. Mr.
Beauchamp refused to
put anything in writing. I think he was uncomfortable with that because
situation with Mr. Dixon. So we sent letters and faxes to him, though
asked us to be discreet when committing details to paper. But his only
communication with us was by telephone. That was the way he wanted it.
Det. Sam Murphy: How
convenient. So really, we only have your word for it that Mr. Beauchamp
even considering this deal. Isn't that right? How do we know that
Enterprises wasn't just inundating him with offers that he was simply
Vanessa Palmer: Well, he did accept the fifty thousand
us. And he did sign the non-disclosure agreement. And I'm sure we could
records of phone messages from Mr. Beauchamp. What's your point,
don't think I care for your implications.
Det. Sam Murphy: To
your knowledge, was Mr. Dixon aware of your negotiations with Mr.
Vanessa Palmer: Certainly not. That would have been
Det. Sam Murphy: I'm sure. When did you intend to
business deal with Mr. Dixon?
Vanessa Palmer: Oh, not until after we had Mr.
on the dotted line.
Det. Sam Murphy: That's a little cold-hearted, isn't
shutting Mr. Dixon out like that?
Vanessa Palmer: That's hardly my concern, Detective.
business. There's no money to be made in sparing people's feelings.
Det. Sam Murphy: Of course. Ms. Palmer, I don't have
anything else to
say to you at the moment. However, we may need to reach you for follow
questioning in the future. Can we reach you at this same number in New
Vanessa Palmer: I'm afraid I do have to travel from
time to time on
business, Detective. I can't guarantee I'll always be reachable here at
Det. Sam Murphy: Let me put it this way, Ms. Palmer. If
we need to
talk to you, we'll contact your New Orleans office. If you're not
get back in touch with us immediately, no matter where you might be. I
want to be forced to issue a warrant for your arrest as a material
witness in a
Vanessa Palmer: Are you trying to intimidate me,
Det. Sam Murphy: I'm just trying to make you aware of
possibilities, Ms. Palmer. Are you clear on the importance of making
available if we have additional questions?
Vanessa Palmer: There's no need to take that tone with
me. I'm not
one of the dim-witted local yokels you're used to dealing with,
understand what you're saying.
Det. Sam Murphy: Be sure that you do. We'll be in touch.
Vanessa Palmer: Just one more thing, Detective, if I
Det. Sam Murphy: What is it?
Vanessa Palmer: Do you happen to have Carl Dixon's
Det. Sam Murphy: Try calling Information.
Interview ends: 10:00 a.m.