Thursday, July 21, 2011 – 10:00 AM
The witness was the victim’s roommate and was interviewed via Internet video chat. The interview was conducted by Detectives Armstrong and Murphy and was digitally recorded with the witness' knowledge and consent.
- Detective Ted Armstrong
- Detective Samantha Murphy
- Nick Crosby
Detective Armstrong: OK, I think we got this thing ready to go. Can you hear us?
Nick Crosby: Yeah, I can see you, hear you.
Detective Armstrong: All right. Let's go ahead and get started then. Thanks for agreeing to talk with us, Mr. Crosby.
Nick Crosby: It’s so weird you tracked me down. I’m happy to help.
Detective Armstrong: Can you state your name and address for the record?
Nick Crosby: Sure. Nicholas Wyatt Crosby, and I live here in Watertown, Connecticut. 400 French Street.
Detective Armstrong: Okay, Mr. Crosby. As we told you on the phone, recently we’ve come across some new information about Kevin Gilmore’s death, and we wanted to ask you some questions.
Nick Crosby: Sure. Of course. It’s bizarre, after so long. I don’t know what I’ll remember.
Detective Murphy: That’s okay. Just do the best you can.
Detective Armstrong: Why don’t you go ahead and start by telling us how you knew Kevin Gilmore.
Nick Crosby: Sure. He was my roommate, freshman and sophomore year, until he died. We were on the team together, both on scholarship. I’m sure you’ve read – you still have the old file, right?
Detective Armstrong: Yes, but we want to make sure it’s all correct.
Detective Murphy: Are you still in touch with anyone from Ole Miss?
Nick Crosby: Oh, well, you know – Facebook. Sure. I’ve connected with the guys from the team, here and there. And you know I married Beatrice. But I haven’t seen anyone face to face. Just email here and there.
Detective Armstrong: Do you ever discuss Kevin with them?
Nick Crosby: No. Not since we graduated.
Detective Armstrong: Do you remember the week Kevin died?
Nick Crosby: Yes. Although I admit I used to think about more than I do now. But I remember it was the last week of the semester, I think. Or close to it. We had a lot going on – finals and games. There was a game mid-week, and then we had a game Saturday. I last saw him Thursday night. His body – that was Sunday. I remember that completely – going to the station, seeing you guys. Not literally you guys, but, you know, your predecessors. That was definitely the most traumatic event of my life up to that point. And then going back to the dorm and knowing I wouldn’t ever see him again. It was – horrific.
Detective Murphy: It sounds like you remember quite a bit. That’s helpful.
Detective Armstrong: You last saw him Thursday, and then he was gone until Sunday?
Nick Crosby: Yes. He missed practice on Friday and the game Saturday – that’s what worried me at the time.
Detective Armstrong: What did you think had happened?
Nick Crosby: He had type 1 diabetes, it was a hassle for him. He managed it really carefully, but I thought – I don’t know – something must have happened and he got sick. But then none of the coaches knew anything about it either, which was weird, and all of us on the team were talking about it, we were kind of freaked out. The day of the game Coach had to tell us to forget him and focus, we were all so wound up. I remember trying to call his folks and getting no answer. A phone booth, remember those? I thought maybe he was with them, or at the hospital. I pretty much decided I would go to the campus police if he wasn’t back Sunday. I didn’t get a chance.
Detective Armstrong: You didn’t mention the campus police before.
Nick Crosby: Oh. Well, yeah – I think – I mean, now it’s hard to remember what I was actually thinking at the time, and what I learned afterwards. But no, yeah, the thought definitely crossed my mind at practice Friday, and then I was mulling it over pretty much all day Saturday. I thought the coaches would have done it but they didn’t want to talk about him at the game on Saturday because we were all so preoccupied already, so I just didn’t know what to do. Although, what does it really matter? It’s not like I acted on it in time. We should have called right away, right? Someone told me the first few hours are crucial.
Detective Murphy: We saw the old bulletins about your daughter, Mr. Crosby. That must have brought back a lot of memories.
Nick Crosby: Yes. Terrifying. But she’s doing great now. That’s all that matters. Call me Nick, by the way.
Detective Armstrong: Okay, Nick. So what do you remember about the last time you saw Kevin?
Nick Crosby: Well, it was that Thursday night. We had gone to practice. I went to the library because I was dealing with my finals, and he said he had to go to work. He was always busy, real busy guy. He worked at some place, what was it called? The Juke Joint. A weird kind of cafe with a movie theater in it. Anyway, he was there a lot, and he had classes, and he had a girlfriend, and he had the team. And his diabetes. Now I can see how hard that must have been.
Detective Armstrong: What about at the time?
Nick Crosby: What do you mean?
Detective Murphy: At the time, what did you think of him having so many commitments?
Nick Crosby: Oh, I – well, I don’t really remember. I was kind of a prick. I probably thought he was, too. I remember he was so stressed out all the time, he’d get defensive. Angry. Like he had something to prove, being poor and all that. Insecure. It was like he set himself up for situations that made him mad. I didn’t get it – I kind of still don’t.
Detective Armstrong: Can you give us an example?
Nick Crosby: Well – okay, here’s one. He had a girlfriend, Carly, and he decided he was going to give her a necklace for Christmas before she went home for winter break. Then he got all stressed out about where the money was going to come from, and then he got mad about how the clerk at the jewelry store looked down on him for only being able to afford the less expensive stuff, and he had a chip on his shoulder. That kind of thing.
Detective Murphy: Which jewelry store was that?
Nick Crosby: Oh, I have no idea. There was a mall in town, right? It must have been in the mall.
Detective Armstrong: So you went to the library Thursday night, and then what?
Nick Crosby: Nothing. I came back, got home late, went right to bed. The next day was Friday. He used to have classes. He stacked them up back-to-back to get them over with, and so I knew I wouldn't see him until practice. Like I said, when I got to the gym and he wasn’t there, that’s when I started to really freak out a little. That was Friday afternoon. Friday night we all, I mean the team, tried acting normal, we went to a movie, which is what we usually did because we couldn’t go out partying. At the apartment we called it monastery night – no drinking, no smoking, no screwing. We weren’t even supposed to eat junk food.
Detective Armstrong: When you last saw Kevin, did he mention having any reason to go to the physical plant building?
Nick Crosby: Oh, that was the maintenance building? Oh yeah. The maintenance building where they found his body? No.
Detective Murphy: Correct.
Nick Crosby: I thought about it a lot, obviously. I couldn’t figure it out. I--maybe he had gone running. And then it turned out it was diabetes-related, right? So I thought for sure he’d been exercising out there, or something. Warming up. But then someone would have seen him before. I went around and around.
Detective Armstrong: Did he ever mention going out to the Waller Lab?
Nick Crosby: Waller Lab. You mean--oh, the pot farm? No. He never said anything. He wasn’t into drugs, personally.
Detective Murphy: His death must have hit the team pretty hard.
Nick Crosby: Yes. Obviously. Although, it’s weird, at first we didn’t really talk about it, except to say we couldn’t believe it. It was like we all just had to get through the season, and then come spring we weren’t training, and we didn’t see each other as much. And – well, this sounds weird, but we were all stressed out. We were all wondering if someone on the team was responsible, somehow. All that questioning, we knew the police thought it was murder, and the articles in the paper. We all felt pretty isolated from each other.
Detective Murphy: So did you ever talk about what happened with the team?
Nick Crosby: Yeah, actually we did. I had a apartment with Steve Minter and Jack Brown, and one night we got all shitfaced and it came out. I guess this was junior year – Steve was ahead of us, so he’d have been a senior. Maybe it was the end of his last season, or something. I don’t remember the occasion.
Detective Armstrong: What did you discuss?
Nick Crosby: We were pretty drunk. I’m surprised I remember it. We just talked about Kevin and how we missed him. Even then, I guess we realized he’d had an impact on us. He worked so hard, he made us all want to work harder. I guess we got pretty maudlin. Maybe we even cried.
Detective Armstrong: Did you share any thoughts on the cause of his death?
Nick Crosby: Maybe. It was pretty confusing at the time – I remember that. Because of the diabetes. We heard he’d died of complications from that, but then the cops were asking us all who killed him. I never understood that.
Detective Armstrong: Did you think someone had killed him?
Nick Crosby: We didn’t know what to think. For a bunch of nineteen, twenty-year-old kids, it was a real mind fuck. Pardon my French. Like I said, those first few months, we didn’t even know what to say to each other, or about each other, or what. We didn’t know if maybe we’d lose our spots on the team, just because of the questioning.
Detective Armstrong: Okay. But that night in the apartment, did you speculate at all about what might have happened?
Nick Crosby: Well, I remember Steve was saying it was really a tragedy to die for less than a thousand bucks. I think we all came to the conclusion that something bad – maybe even criminal – happened, it must have been related to money.
Detective Armstrong: Why was that the reason?
Nick Crosby: Well, Kevin owed pretty much everyone on the team. I – you know, we did talk about maybe at the end of the year, sophomore year. We got together and compared notes, maybe for the first time, and that's when everyone kind of told what Kevin owed. We came up with the thousand dollar figure.
Detective Armstrong: What did everyone say?
Nick Crosby: I don’t remember specifically. No one person had lent him more than a few hundred bucks, though. It wasn’t like there was some standout sum that explained everything.
Detective Armstrong: How much did he owe you?
Nick Crosby: Maybe fifty. I don’t remember.
Detective Armstrong: That’s just from loans?
Nick Crosby: Yeah, it wasn’t much.
Detective Armstrong: Did he owe you for any other kind of money?
Nick Crosby: Like what other kind of money?
Detective Armstrong: Compensation, maybe.
Nick Crosby: What--what are you talking about? I--
Detective Armstrong: Don’t you?
Detective Murphy: Let’s see if we can jog your memory. What was he doing with all that money he borrowed?
Nick Crosby: I have no idea. Buying his girlfriend presents. I don’t know. He was always wanting to buy stuff all the time. And then when he couldn’t – well, like I said earlier, he would get defensive. It was some manifestation of his insecurity, he wanted to fit in, and he thought buying things would get him there.
Detective Armstrong: And you say he didn’t do drugs.
Nick Crosby: No, no. Of course, his insulin, but no drugs.
Detective Armstrong: Did he ever try and steal anything from you?
Nick Crosby: You mean, like, stuff?
Detective Armstrong: Sure. Money. Books. Clothes.
Nick Crosby: No. No, no, no. We talked about that, too – that time we went around comparing the money and the notes and everything. We all agreed he just took money from us. He never stole anything else from us. We all kind of wondered if maybe that was it, he’d tried to steal from someone, not us, maybe someone dangerous. Maybe someone from work – I don’t know. I remember someone said – no, it wasn’t there. It was at the Review, the literary magazine. Someone said maybe Kevin was trying to rob the pot farm and the guards took him down.
Detective Armstrong: When was this?
Nick Crosby: Oh, I don’t know. It must have been that first year – or maybe the next fall, I think it was Evelyn Leung who said that, she was editor that year. The fall of ‘88. She was a major pothead, those types were always talking about breaking into the lab. It was like an obsession. When Kevin turned up near there, they must have gone crazy speculating what he’d been up to. I didn’t believe any of it.
Detective Murphy: This Evelyn Leung – are you still in touch?
Nick Crosby: No. I have no idea what she’s up to. Honestly, it was just idle chitchat. She was probably stoned at the time.
Detective Armstrong: What about Kevin’s academics? Was he doing okay?
Nick Crosby: Far as I know. We didn’t study much together.
Detective Armstrong: That’s not what you said back in 1987.
Nick Crosby: I don’t remember.
Detective Armstrong: You talked about helping him with his English composition. You said he was struggling.
Nick Crosby: I did?
Detective Armstrong: Yes, Nick.
Nick Crosby: Oh. Yeah, I guess I did. I did help him, but I gave up. He was a hard worker, when he wanted to be. I remember him studying the grammar book for hours, once. But it didn’t help. His writing was awful, and the only way to get better is to keep practicing, and he didn’t really have time for that. He was so strung out. Then if I didn’t basically rewrite it for him he’d get angry. So I stopped. I told him to get tutoring. I do remember now.
Detective Armstrong: Would you say it was a source of conflict between you?
Nick Crosby: I really don’t remember. I suppose I was upset.
Detective Murphy: He cost you the prize, didn’t he?
Nick Crosby: What?
Detective Murphy: The Barry Hannah prize. Plagiarism.
Nick Crosby: Kevin came to the disciplinary hearing. He testified for me and explained what happened.
Detective Armstrong: Which was what, exactly?
Nick Crosby: Well, of course it was backwards. His comp teacher thought I copied him, but of course I had written his essay for him in the first place, pretty much. And then next semester I learned about the prize and I thought, what the hell, this essay could actually be a pretty nice little piece. So I polished it up and submitted it. I didn’t think anyone would notice. I certainly didn’t expect to win. I was a freshman.
Detective Murphy: And he told the committee that?
Nick Crosby: Well – no, that can’t be right, because then they would have known he had plagiarized. I think he just told them he knew the piece was my own work, and we had talked about it and shared ideas and that’s why his essay was similar. I really don’t recall. It all worked out okay.
Detective Armstrong: Easy to say now.
Nick Crosby: Look, it wasn’t exactly the O. Henry Prize. But you’re right, at the time, I remember being pretty pissed off. More at myself than anyone, I think. For getting myself into this, and feeling so – I don’t know, manipulated by Kevin. He was kind of bullying, in a way, with this idea he had that he was being treated unfairly because he was poor. It was like he felt we all owed him, because he was working so hard.
Detective Armstrong: Did you fight about it?
Nick Crosby: I told him I wasn’t going to do it any more – help him with his work. I remember that. It was the end of the first semester, freshman year. We fought, and I ended up walking out. He didn’t ask me again. This was before the prize thing happened.
Detective Armstrong: Right, so what about after the prize was withdrawn?
Nick Crosby: I wasn’t too happy. But by then it had nothing to do with him. I shouldn’t have submitted it. When he came out of the hearing he tried to apologize, but I didn’t want to hear it. I guess at the time I was bitter. I imagined I might never be published again. But then when he died, I realized it didn’t matter. I guess I felt guilty we had fought about it. Everything can suddenly seem so petty, you know?
Detective Armstrong: I bet it did.
Detective Murphy: Did Kevin pay you for the help you gave him with his writing?
Detective Armstrong: Or was he maybe supposed to pay you and didn’t?
Nick Crosby: Is this the compensation you were talking about earlier? No. We never had any arrangement like that.
Detective Armstrong: Well, what was your arrangement then?
Nick Crosby: There was none. He was my roommate. He was on the team with me. I wanted to help him out at first, and then I stopped.
Detective Armstrong: Come on, Nick. We understand there was some pretty big money involved.
Nick Crosby: No. I would never do that. You don’t understand – Kevin really was poor. It was obvious he didn’t have anything to spare. He didn’t handle it well, for sure, but I wouldn’t try to make the situation worse.
Detective Armstrong: How much was that Barry Hannah prize worth?
Nick Crosby: I have no idea. What are you saying?
Detective Murphy: Five hundred bucks is how much. It must have hurt to lose it.
Detective Armstrong: You were a scholarship kid, too. You needed money.
Nick Crosby: No. Who told you this?
Detective Armstrong: You lose the prize, you’re upset, so you tell Kevin he needs to pay you back with interest. A thousand bucks.
Nick Crosby: Whoever told you this was wrong. I--well, yeah. I was on scholarship, but I chose to be on scholarship. It wasn’t the same. If I ever really got into trouble, I could have called home. I had a safety net.
Detective Murphy: So you don’t demand repayment for losing the prize?
Nick Crosby: No. Absolutely not.
Detective Murphy: Let’s go back to after Kevin died and his body was found. What happened in the days immediately afterwards?
Nick Crosby: I – well, like I said, I was pretty much in a daze. I barely remember anything, except being questioned. It was finals, and it was all I could do to drag myself through. That and keep up with the team.
Detective Armstrong: Did you and your teammates discuss what had happened?
Nick Crosby: Yes. I already talked about this. What do you want to know?
Detective Armstrong: We want to review it again. What did they say?
Nick Crosby: We were all pretty much the same. Shocked. Numb. I don’t know.
Detective Murphy: Do you remember the funeral?
Nick Crosby: Barely. It was hard, seeing his parents. I remember them.
Detective Murphy: What about Kevin’s other friends?
Nick Crosby: Other friends. He didn’t have a lot. There was Carly, that’s his girlfriend. And he had one other good friend. Dick. Rick. Richie? I don’t remember.
Detective Murphy: Did you talk with Kevin's friends about his death?
Nick Crosby: No. I do remember at the funeral I sat with the team, and I couldn't really approach any of his friends about his death.
Detective Murphy: Did you ever go visit Carly?
Nick Crosby: No.
Detective Armstrong: How about Richie – you never paid him a visit?
Nick Crosby: No.
Detective Armstrong: You never had an argument with Richie Turner?
Nick Crosby: No. Why would I?
Detective Armstrong: Because Richie was Kevin’s best friend, and he knew Kevin owed you a lot of money.
Nick Crosby: That’s a lie.
Detective Armstrong: If Kevin didn’t pay, you were going to report him for plagiarism. Clear your name, get his scholarship revoked. Isn’t that right?
Nick Crosby: No.
Detective Armstrong: So Richie comes over, beats you up over it. That’s what he told us. You cried like a girl. Begged him not to hurt you.
Nick Crosby: That’s bullshit. He was lucky to get out in one piece.
Detective Armstrong: So you did see Richie.
Nick Crosby: No. Yes. No. Look, you have to believe I didn’t have anything to do with what happened. I didn’t know what was going to happen.
Detective Armstrong: You’re a smart guy, Nick. I’m sure you know telling the truth is your best option right now.
Nick Crosby: I am telling the truth. I had nothing to do with Kevin dying.
Detective Murphy: But what about this incident with Richie?
Nick Crosby: Yeah, okay, yeah. He came over. He made some accusations about the prize. But we got in a fight, and he ran away. He was the little girl.
Detective Murphy: These accusations were what, exactly?
Nick Crosby: Well, he said I knew the whole story and I was using that against Kevin. Holding it over his head.
Detective Armstrong: Were you?
Nick Crosby: No.
Detective Armstrong: Really? I’m sure that fancy school where you teach would be interested in this issue, what with the honor code you’re sworn to uphold. And don’t you have a novel coming out? You could be the next guy, what’s his name, A Million Little Pieces?
Nick Crosby: Now you’re blackmailing me. Maybe I should consult a lawyer.
Detective Armstrong: Just tell us the truth, and we won’t need to take this any farther. What happened with the plagiarism essay?
Nick Crosby: I just – look, didn’t he die of something related to his diabetes? Why are you trying to blame me?
Detective Armstrong: Maybe because you killed him.
Detective Murphy: You were so fed up about this prize and what it cost you, and he didn’t pay up, so you took the next logical step.
Nick Crosby: No. That’s ridiculous. Listen to yourselves, it makes no sense. Why would I kill him if I wanted him to give me money? I just wanted to teach him a lesson. I was so sick of his insecurity about being poor. The way he would complain about it, and then make it even harder on himself, like with that necklace for his girlfriend, and then blame everyone else for looking down on him. Like we had dug him into the hole, when he was the one going around cadging money from everyone. Like it was our fault. I wanted him to realize he had no one to blame but himself. I told him I wanted to be paid back, that’s all. By the time we graduated – he had three whole years. Obviously, when he turned up dead I felt responsible. Like maybe I pushed him too hard with that. But he knew my situation. He knew I didn’t need the money. He was free to blow me off just like he did all his other debts.
Detective Armstrong: Except you could prove he plagiarized you. Ruin his academic record.
Nick Crosby: No, I couldn’t prove it really. It would just my word versus his.
Detective Murphy: Come on, Nick. We’ve seen your composition essays, and we’ve seen Kevin’s. It’s clear who has the gift. That one you helped him with sticks out like a sore thumb compared with the rest of his work.
Nick Crosby: Okay. But I wouldn’t have actually done that. Never. Trust me, I wished I had never said that to him. I can’t tell you how many times I wished that. But it’s pointless, isn’t it? You can’t remake the past. But you have to believe me. I didn’t want him dead.
Detective Murphy: Did you have evidence Kevin cheated in his other classes, too?
Nick Crosby: No. I have no idea. I mean, I have to assume so, given what happened with us. And his schedule, like I said earlier. He was struggling to keep his head above water.
Detective Armstrong: That’s right. He was definitely a vulnerable kid – and you took advantage of him.
Nick Crosby: Yes. I admit that. Now, as an adult, a teacher, I see that. Yeah, it was the wrong way to go. I felt – and I still feel – incredibly guilty. Man, I was just a nineteen-year-old prick, and I didn’t know the right thing to do. I would never want to hurt him or kill him. That’s even – I can’t imagine it.
Detective Armstrong: So you still deny you killed him?
Nick Crosby: Absolutely.
Detective Murphy: Why should we believe you now, what with the lying about the plagiarism?
Nick Crosby: I’m not a violent person. I mean, okay, with Richie, or in a bar once in a while, sure, you throw a few punches. But taking someone’s life – I can’t imagine being arrogant enough to believe I have the right.
Detective Armstrong: Very high-minded.
Nick Crosby: If you don’t believe me, ask Kevin’s parents about the letter. I wrote them, when I graduated.
Detective Armstrong: Saying what?
Nick Crosby: Just reflecting on how Kevin had taught me a lot, with his work ethic. His doggedness. I was still only twenty-two, still a completely prick, but at least I recognized that much. Even more so now. I’m working on a novel, and I’ve rewritten the first chapter 35 times. Maybe if I hadn’t met him, I wouldn’t have stuck with it.
Detective Armstrong: Did you ever hear back from his parents?
Nick Crosby: No. I didn’t expect to.
Detective Murphy: So if you didn’t have anything to do with his death, what do you think happened to Kevin?
Nick Crosby: I – well, if foul play was involved – you still haven’t told me if it is – it had to have been about money. He must have gotten mixed up with bad people, I mean really bad, not just an asshole like me.
Detective Armstrong: Has anything else surfaced that you didn’t tell investigators at the time?
Nick Crosby: No.
Detective Armstrong: Last chance, Nick. I’d hate to find out from another source there was something else between you and Kevin.
Nick Crosby: No. No, no. He was my best friend. I was devastated by his death. That’s all I have to say.
Detective Murphy: Okay, Nick. We’ll be in touch.
Interview ended 10:50 AM