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Follow-up Interview: Jordan Rodale, Devlin Beauchamp's brother

Friday, January 27, 2010 - 2:30 p.m.

The witness, Jordan Rodale, was the victim's brother. Sheriff's Detectives Sam Murphy and Ted Armstrong interviewed Mr. Rodale at his residence, 910 Old Taylor Road, Oxford, Mississippi. This is the second interview conducted with the witness.

Detective Sam Murphy
Detective Ted Armstrong
Jordan Rodale

Detective Sam Murphy: Thank you for meeting with us again. I know this is repetitive, but for the record, could you please state your name and address?

Jordan Rodale: My name is Jordan Lucius Rodale and I reside at 910 Old Taylor Road in Oxford, Mississippi. I'm not sure why we are talking again. I told you everything that might be helpful when we first met.

Detective Sam Murphy:  We often do follow up interviews. It's pretty standard really.

Detective Ted Armstrong: Mr. Rodale, do you know how you stand in your brother's will?

Jordan Rodale: Do you mean, how much am I going to get? I really have no idea. On the one hand, I'm Devlin's only remaining relative. So it's possible that I would gain a fair amount of assets. On the other hand, my brother and I were never close, so it wouldn't surprise me at all if he left everything to some softball player or something.

Detective Ted Armstrong: Just for the sake of argument, let's say you didn't get anything from your brother's will. What would your reaction be?

Jordan Rodale: I shouldn't be surprised. I was completely cut out of my mother's will. And he and Mom were always conspiring against me. So he might have very well continued her tradition of keeping things from me. Denying me.

Detective Sam Murphy:  What would you do? You sued for portions of your mother's estate. Would you attempt to gain control of some of your brother's assets?

Jordan Rodale: I really can't say. It's hard to talk about suing hypothetically. It depends on the spirit of the situation. It's not so much the amount he left me or didn't leave me. It's about the tone. Whether he was being malicious or attacking.

Detective Sam Murphy:  If you could have any one item of your brother's, what would it be?

Jordan Rodale: Come on now, that's ridiculous. It's not like I went walking around saying "Well, if Devlin were murdered, I could have that dining room table" or anything.

Detective Ted Armstrong: We understand that your mother's journals were a source of irritation for you. Is it possible that would be the item you picked from your brother's estate? If you could only have one thing?

Jordan Rodale: Well, he and I had argued about them. As I told you in our first meeting, it was just one of many disagreements. Over and done with.

Detective Ted Armstrong: Right. Well, could you tell us what you are working on now?

Jordan Rodale: My literary project?

Detective Ted Armstrong: Yes, that's right. You're a writer, correct? What are you writing?

Jordan Rodale: I'm not sure how to describe it. It's basically a memoir. A lot of it is about growing up homosexual in a small southern town. A lot is about my family. A lot is about life.

Detective Ted Armstrong: I'm not much up on literary stuff myself, so maybe I don't know what I'm talking about. But, it seems to me that "a lot is about life" is pretty vague. Could you be more specific?

Jordan Rodale: I'm not finished with the book, you see. So if it's vague, it's because it's not like it's a finished product we're discussing. However, I'm talking about growing up, always feeling the stares and hearing the whispers from everyone. It wasn't easy, I can assure you.

Detective Sam Murphy:  I'm sure it wasn't. We've heard rumors about you discussing the death of your mother's first husband in the book. Is this true?

Jordan Rodale: Well, I'm not really finished. As I said, it's still very much in progress. But, yes, there is a possibility that I may handle that topic. I don't believe a writer should hold back. So, maybe that's in there.

Detective Sam Murphy:  If I understand it correctly, they never really knew what happened to that man, Frederick Beauchamp. Do you have any ideas?

Jordan Rodale: There are old rumors, of course. Some say he killed himself, others say that he was killed. Most people just believe that it was a simple car wreck.

Detective Sam Murphy: But, you don't have any particular opinion?

Jordan Rodale: I don't have any inside information or detail. No.

Detective Ted Armstrong: So, how were you going to treat this incident? If you don't know anything.

Jordan Rodale: That's the whole point. I describe my process of finding out.

Detective Ted Armstrong: Would your mother's journals help you in this book at all?

Jordan Rodale: I'm sure they could probably provide some small details and bits of information.

Detective Ted Armstrong: Small details, huh? How important would your mother's journals be to this project?

Jordan Rodale: I don't know. Since I haven't finished it. I don't know what percentage is going to be about my family and what percentage is going to be about me. I just don't know.

Detective Ted Armstrong: Like I said, I don't know much about books, so you'll have to cut me some slack. But, how's this thing work here? You write the book and then some company buys it? Or do they buy it and then you write it?

Jordan Rodale: It works both ways in the industry. But, in this case, my publisher has already bought the book. As long as I provide a worthy manuscript within the allotted amount of time, they will publish it.

Detective Sam Murphy:  And they've already paid for it?

Jordan Rodale: They gave me an advance against future royalties. It's common.

Detective Ted Armstrong: How much exactly was this advance?

Jordan Rodale: I'm not sure I should go into those details. That's pretty personal.

Detective Ted Armstrong:It's not like we're the check-out girl down to the Kroger, Mr. Rodale. We deal with personal information all the time in our business. Besides, you didn't seem to think it was too personal when the papers were running all the articles about the deal you had signed. You were smiling pretty big in those pictures.

Jordan Rodale: Oh, well, that's common you see. I don't really like all that attention. But, they do that. For the publicity. I'm much more private. Yes. But, my agent and editors make me do that promotion stuff.

Detective Sam Murphy:  Yes, I'm sure it's difficult for you. But, back to the question, how much was the advance?

Jordan Rodale: I really can't tell you because so much of it went to the lawyers, agents, and taxes. The total advance was for about 300,000 dollars. I'm honestly not exactly sure how much I personally took home.

Detective Ted Armstrong: That's quite a bit of money.

Jordan Rodale: Yes, advances have come down quite a bit since the early nineties when every first-time novelist was getting seven or eight hundred thousand. But, I've written several successful books, so I'm a known quantity. Also, memoirs are very popular right now. So all of that probably contributed to the advance amount.

Detective Sam Murphy:  Could you describe your financial situation to us?

Jordan Rodale: What do you mean?

Detective Sam Murphy: Well, you just got a large sum of money in the last couple of years. So, I assume you're pretty affluent.

Jordan Rodale: Yes. Well, it's all a matter of perspective. I, uh, don't know that I'm rich. But, I guess I have been blessed. Yes. But, one can never have enough money, right? It just never seems to be enough.

Detective Ted Armstrong: But, you probably spend a lot too, don't you? I mean, that architect boyfriend runs in some pretty ritzy company. It probably costs you a lot to keep up, I would think.

Jordan Rodale: We do like to enjoy life. What's the point of making money if you don't spend it? No harm in that, I can assure you.

Detective Ted Armstrong: But, you wouldn't describe your spending as out of control. You're financially okay? No worries?

Jordan Rodale: Of course, I have worries. Who doesn't? But, I'm not living on the streets, digging through garbage cans.

Detective Ted Armstrong: You had to repay an advance once, didn't you.

Jordan Rodale: Yes, unfortunately, a publisher and I didn't see eye-to-eye on a project and I had to repay the advance.

Detective Sam Murphy:  That must have been very difficult.

Jordan Rodale:Yes. Financially and emotionally.

Detective Ted Armstrong: What if you have to repay the 300,000 on this current book?

Jordan Rodale: I can assure you, that won't happen.

Detective Ted Armstrong: But, if you did, let's just say. Could you? You haven't spent it all, have you?

Jordan Rodale: I already told you that I was fine.

Detective Ted Armstrong: So, I'm just playing around with things here. Just talking off the top of my head, but let's say you weren't in good shape financially. It seems to me that you could either really use your brother's money, or you could really use those journals. Either way, you get out of the hole. I'm just talking hypothetically.

Jordan Rodale: Yes, I guess you're right. But that has nothing to do with the situation. I cannot tell you any more than I already have. I am fine financially!

Detective Ted Armstrong: So, last summer, when Neilson's had to file court proceedings against you to get you to pay your account, what was that?

Jordan Rodale: Well, that was an administrative error. Yes. It simply got overlooked. An oversight. My assistant lost the bills.

Detective Sam Murphy:  Is this the same assistant who "lost" our messages when we were trying to contact you? Seems to me this guy isn't working out too well.

Jordan Rodale: He is fine. It was just a mistake. I'm probably the one who misplaced the paperwork.

Detective Ted Armstrong: So money is not a problem?

Jordan Rodale: For the last time, no!

Detective Sam Murphy:  Okay, okay. I think that's all we need for now, Mr. Rodale. We'll be in touch if we have any more questions. Thanks for your time.

Interview ends 3:00 p.m.