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Interview: Jordan Rodale, victim's brother

Sunday, January 17, 2010 - 3:00 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.

Det.Samantha Murphy
Det.Ted Armstrong
Jordan Rodale

Det. Samantha Murphy: For the record, would you please state your name and address?

Jordan Rodale: My name is Jordan Lucius Rodale and I reside at 910 Old Taylor Road.

Det. Samantha Murphy: You're aware of why we are talking to you today?

Jordan Rodale: I would only assume that you are here because of the death of Devlin Beauchamp.

Det. Samantha Murphy: What was your relationship with the victim?

Jordan Rodale: He was my brother.

Det. Samantha Murphy: Why the different last name?

Jordan Rodale: Oh, my apologies. We were half-brothers.

Det. Samantha Murphy:Your relationship to the deceased seems to be a pretty well-kept secret. Even his business partner didn't know who you are.

Jordan Rodale: Well, Devlin and I did not get along, so I'm not surprised that he was reluctant to discuss me.

Det. Samantha Murphy: What did you two fight about?

Jordan Rodale:The usual things.

Det. Ted Armstrong: Like what usual things?

Jordan Rodale: In addition to the usual sibling rivalries, there was the issue of my choice of lifestyle. Devlin was not at all proud to have a homosexual for a brother. When he was playing baseball, it seems his teammates and opponents often reminded him of his brother, the sissy. Evidently, they also questioned his own sexuality to antagonize him or to throw him off his game.

Det. Samantha Murphy: So your relationship has always been difficult?

Jordan Rodale: Off and on. At times it was difficult and at other times, you could just say it was distant. There were quite a few years where Devlin went his way and I went mine. If we bumped into each other at Kroger, we might say hello, but that was the extent of things.

Det. Ted Armstrong: How would you characterize the nature of your relationship when your brother was murdered? Difficult or distant?

Jordan Rodale: Probably difficult. You see, for all those years that we didn't really have any contact, it was easy. He did his thing and I did mine. There was very little contact, therefore, very little turmoil. However, when our mother passed away some years ago, we began to try and reconcile our differences. Naturally, that period of re-building got tense at times. But, we were trying.

Det. Samantha Murphy: Mr. Rodale, our office called you as soon as we learned about you being the brother of the victim. But you didn't respond until today, more than a week after we called you. Why?

Jordan Rodale: My assistant took your message while I was in New York for a business trip. He must have assumed it wasn't that important and figured I would contact you when I returned to Oxford.

Det. Ted Armstrong: So, a phone call from the Sheriff's Office doesn't seem important?

Jordan Rodale: You have to understand. My time in New York was very hectic. And the message didn't exactly say what the nature of the phone call was. You didn't leave a great deal of information. But, mainly, I was just busy. Yes, very, very hectic. And I'm sure that he felt like he was doing the right thing. Not interrupting my business.

Det. Samantha Murphy: Tell us about this assistant.

Jordan Rodale: What about him? His name is Vincent Jones. I have employed him for several years now.

Det. Samantha Murphy: What kind of work does he do for you?

Jordan Rodale: He performs a variety of tasks. He helps with everything from researching my literary pursuits to going to the grocery store. He runs my office and waters my plants when I'm gone.

Det. Samantha Murphy: Has the nature of your relationship with Mr. Jones always been professional?

Jordan Rodale: I'm not sure I understand what you're asking. He has been in my employ for several years. I told you that.

Det. Samantha Murphy: And that is for doing this general helping out kind of work he does?

Jordan Rodale: Yes, Detective Murphy. He helps me out and I pay him. That's all I have to say on the matter. He is very talented and can do just about anything I ask him. Whether it's balance my checkbook or paint my deck. And, yes, it's all professional.

Det. Ted Armstrong: So what the hell? How professional is your office? You guys don't think messages from the Sheriff's Department are important? What kind of business trip was this anyway?

Jordan Rodale: As I said, Detective Armstrong, I was extremely busy with extremely important business. I was meeting with my literary agent and my editor. There were meetings with the marketing people at my publishing company. Always something going on.

Det. Samantha Murphy: How did you find out about your brother's death?

Jordan Rodale: My assistant picked me up at the airport and told me.

Det. Samantha Murphy: Pardon me for saying this, but you talk about grief yet you don't seem terribly upset.

Jordan Rodale: We have discussed the relationship my brother and I had. It's not as though we were close. You mentioned that none of his friends knew about me, well, I had no knowledge of them either. I don't know who he associated with, what he did with his time. In many ways, he was a stranger to me.

Det. Samantha Murphy: So, when exactly was the last time that you saw your brother?

Jordan Rodale: It was actually the day he died. He and I met for a late lunch at Figgy's.

Det. Samantha Murphy: How long were you at Figgy's?

Jordan Rodale: I don't exactly recall. It was a couple of hours. After we ate, we had a couple of cups of coffee.

Det. Samantha Murphy: What did you talk about over lunch?

Jordan Rodale: Nothing in particular. Just catching up.

Det. Ted Armstrong: Then what happened?

Jordan Rodale: I don't know where Devlin went. I met my boyfriend and we went to Memphis.

Det. Samantha Murphy: What is your boyfriend's name?

Jordan Rodale: Bennett Estes Kauffman. He lives in Germantown

Det. Samantha Murphy: Germantown, Tennessee?

Jordan Rodale: Yes. He's an architect at a firm in Memphis.

Det. Samantha Murphy: Before we leave today, I'd like you to give us Mr. Kauffman's address and telephone number so we can get in touch with him. Okay?

Jordan Rodale: Of course.

Det. Ted Armstrong: So did you meet your boyfriend that day here in Oxford or in Memphis?

Jordan Rodale: He was in town for the weekend. After I had lunch with Devlin, Bennett and I left for Memphis. My flight to New York City for my business trip was extremely early in the morning. So, we decided to get a head start. We checked into The Peabody at about 6:00, went to dinner at Chez Philippe, saw a movie, and were back at the hotel by 12:00.

Det. Samantha Murphy: Why did you stay at a hotel when Mr. Kauffman lives in Memphis?

Jordan Rodale Well, he lives in Germantown, which is a lot further away from the airport. I'm not much of a morning person, so I wanted to be closer to the airport. And it is The Peabody, after all. Have you ever stayed there?

Det. Samantha Murphy: No sir, I haven't had the opportunity.

Jordan Rodale: Well, it's wonderful. Really. You must try it.

Det. Ted Armstrong:L I'm sure that's true, Mr. Rodale. Do you have witnesses who can confirm your activities in Memphis on the night of January 2nd?

Jordan Rodale: Obviously, my boyfriend can vouch for my whereabouts the entire night. When we returned to the Peabody, I called downstairs to have room service bring up some wine and dessert. The waiter who brought the food in the room talked to both me and my boyfriend. You could talk to the waiters at the restaurant, the desk clerks, anyone. Lots of people saw us.

Det. Ted Armstrong: And then you left the next morning, Sunday morning, for this all important business trip, right?

Jordan Rodale: Correct. I was on a Delta flight to JFK at 7:00 a.m. I can get the flight number for you.

Det. Ted Armstrong: Let me make sure I understand the timeline here. You say you were in Memphis when your brother was killed, then the next morning, you hopped a flight to New York where you stayed for a couple of weeks on business, and returned to find out that your brother had been killed?

Jordan Rodale: Yes, that's correct.

Det. Samantha Murphy: When our department was going through your brother's house, we found three letters you wrote to him. I believe they were dated late last year, like in November or December of 2009. Do you remember these letters?

Jordan Rodale: Uh, no. I don't believe I do. You see, I feel, you understand, that letter writing is a lost art. People just don't take the time anymore. But, I correspond with a great deal of people. So, that's why. Why I don't remember. Yes, there are so many letters.

Det. Ted Armstrong: Well, in these letters, you seemed pretty determined. These didn't seem to be casual, "hi, how are you, I am fine" letters.

Jordan Rodale: Oh, yes. Now I think I remember. Around that time, we were still dividing portions of our mother's estate. So, the letters were probably about that. Typical family dealings with property. It's unfortunate how these things can get, don't you think? But, nothing out of the ordinary.

Det. Ted Armstrong: Just the usual stuff, huh? Do you remember what you were trying to divide?

Jordan Rodale: Uh, I don't think there was anything in particular. Our mother lived in that huge house for so long. She accumulated so many possessions. For many years, we couldn't face going through her things. Then, finally, we got around to it. So, it could have been any number of items. Armoires, paintings, lamps. We fought over the dining table quite a bit. So, yes. It could have been any number of items.

Det. Ted Armstrong: What about your mother's journals?

Jordan Rodale: That is a possibility, I suppose. Look, I don't mean to be rude here, but you have the letters. Why question me about the contents of documents that you have? I told you that I write a great deal of letters and that I can't remember them all. If there is something in there that you want to ask me about, ask me.

Det. Ted Armstrong: It seems that you were very excited about your mother's journals. And that Devlin wouldn't give them to you.

Jordan Rodale: Oh, yes. That was an issue between us. But it's no big deal really. My mother said in the will that her papers should be divided equally between us. However, Devlin snatched up her journals and wouldn't part with them. He feels like journals are his territory. Just because he scribbles down his trivial day in his little book. And no one else is allowed around journals. I'm the writer for christs sakes . But, his little hobby... Well, it was irritating, but once again, just part of dividing up the estate. As I said, nothing out of the ordinary.

Det. Samantha Murphy: Did you ever get the journals, Mr. Rodale?

Jordan Rodale: Uh, no. I did not. As I said, it was just one of those give and take things amongst families. Finally, we agreed that he could keep the journals and I took a lovely antebellum portrait of a great-uncle.

Det. Samantha Murphy: And that's it.

Jordan Rodale: Yes, that's it. But, since you brought the matter up - could I have the journals if you found them? I mean, that's something I meant to ask you. About my brother's property, that is. What about all the things that were in his house? Everything. I just mentioned the journals because we had been talking about them.

Det. Samantha Murphy: The house is a crime scene right now. It has been sealed and all the contents are considered evidence. Once the investigation is over, then the family and executors can have Mr. Beauchamp's property.

Det. Ted Armstrong: That's about all of our questions for now, Mr. Rodale. You're not planning any more business trips are you?

Jordan Rodale: No, I'm not. And yes, officers, I will stay in town in case you need me in the future.

Det. Samantha Murphy: Thank you.

Interview ended 3:30 p.m.