Sunday, May 13, 2012 – 2:00 p.m.
Elizabeth Sherman is Veronica Smith’s older sister. Detectives Armstrong and Murphy interviewed her at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department. The interview was recorded with the witness's knowledge and consent.
- Detective T. Armstrong
- Detective S. Murphy
- Elizabeth Sherman
Detective Murphy: Thank you for coming in, Ms. Sherman. If you don’t mind, we’ll get right to it?
Elizabeth Sherman: That’s fine. I’m off today, but I do need to get home ASAP. It’s an hour drive, and I’d like to be home before the kids get off the bus.
Detective Murphy: Please state your full name and address for the record.
Elizabeth Sherman: My name is Elizabeth Rene Sherman, and I live at 907 Dogwood Drive in Grenada, Mississippi.
Detective Murphy: How long have you lived in Grenada?
Elizabeth Sherman: All my life.
Detective Armstrong: Are you employed, Ms. Sherman?
Elizabeth Sherman: You can call me Elizabeth. I’m a veterinarian at Veterinary Associates in Grenada.
Detective Armstrong: It seems that your parents had a decent sense of humor.
Elizabeth Sherman: What do you mean?
Detective Armstrong: Elizabeth and Veronica. Betty and Veronica, surely you’ve heard that before?
Elizabeth Sherman: I was definitely subjected to that horrible name many times. I hate it. Please don’t call me that.
Detective Murphy: Betty was always my favorite. She was sweet and pretty. I thought Veronica was spoiled and stuck up. Why is it that it offended you so much?
Elizabeth Sherman: Ronnie excelled at everything she did. I was just average. I was always being compared to her and I was the oldest. In the comic, it always seemed like Betty was the run-of-the-mill, average girl next door, but Veronica was elegant, sought-after and beautiful. Whenever people called us those names, I just hated it. To me, it was just another way to cut me down while building her up.
Detective Armstrong: How did you and your sister get along?
Elizabeth Sherman: Not too well when we were younger, but as we matured I believe we got along OK. Our kids are close, and I babysat Haley for her. I guess we weren’t as close as some siblings, but we did all right. We were family.
Detective Murphy: How do you feel about George?
Elizabeth Sherman: George is amazing. I was shocked that Veronica married a man like him.
Detective Murphy: What do you mean?
Elizabeth Sherman: Well, George is a wonderful man. Ronnie usually picks losers. Her first husband was a drunken bum. She usually dated and hung out with losers until she met the O’Connor boys.
Detective Murphy: Boys?
Elizabeth Sherman: Oh, I assumed you knew. She dated George’s older brother Michael first. Michael was crazy about her, and he took her home to meet his family. He told me later that he was going to ask her to marry him if his parents approved.
Detective Armstrong: Obviously George approved.
Elizabeth Sherman: Yes, he did. Neither Michael nor George were the type she generally went for.
Detective Armstrong: So, he is more your type then?
Elizabeth Sherman: Umm… I guess so, but I never thought of him that way. I’ve been with Heath for a long time. I was with Heath when Ron met George. Like I said, I was just surprised by her choice.
Detective Armstrong: I bet you weren’t nearly as surprised as Michael. How did he handle it?
Elizabeth Sherman: He didn’t take it well. He loved Ron. He didn’t speak to them for a long time. George asked him to be his best man, and Michael turned him down. I don’t think he’s ever gotten over the betrayal or losing Ron.
Detective Armstrong: How was the relationship between George and Veronica?
Elizabeth Sherman: They got along well, I guess. George treated Ron like a queen. I don’t think she appreciated him as much as he deserved. He would do anything for her, and she took it for granted, in my opinion.
Detective Armstrong: How did she get along with her business partners?
Elizabeth Sherman: She seemed to like the fellas she partnered with. I know they were all upset over the malpractice suit, and it was affecting their day-to-day mindsets.
Detective Murphy: How so?
Elizabeth Sherman: Ron mentioned to me that the partners were on edge, and they were all short with one another because of the stress of just not knowing what the outcome would be.
Detective Armstrong: And how did she get along with her co-workers?
Elizabeth Sherman: There were a couple of nurses at the hospital that she didn’t care for. She said they were rude to her, and she didn’t think they liked her much. I don’t know their names though.
Detective Murphy: When was the last time you saw your sister?
Elizabeth Sherman: About a week before she died. We took Sean and Haley to see The Hunger Games. Sean loved it, but it may have been a tad too violent for Haley. She’s a sweet child and very sensitive. A few times during the movie, she covered her eyes, but all in all, the kids liked it and so did we.
Detective Murphy: When was the last time you talked to her?
Elizabeth Sherman: We talked on the phone a few days before she died. I’m not sure of the date, but I remember that The View was on TV while we were on the phone because we were laughing over something Whoopi said.
Detective Armstrong: You didn’t talk to her the day she died?
Elizabeth Sherman: Nope.
Detective Murphy: Do you know if Veronica had plans the night she died?
Elizabeth Sherman: Yeah, I asked her a few days before if she wanted to come to my house while George and Haley were out, but she said she was just going to stay home and relax.
Detective Murphy: What can you tell us about Veronica’s circle of friends?
Elizabeth Sherman: What about them?
Detective Murphy: We need the names of her close friends.
Elizabeth Sherman: Close friends? Hmm, she only had a couple. Let’s see. Oh yeah, Jan. I think it was Janice Vogel, and there was Margie. Margie… um, Brittingham. She had a couple more, but they weren’t really friends that she did anything with.
Detective Murphy: Surely she had more than just two friends.
Elizabeth Sherman: There was a Lisa Freeman that she had coffee with some mornings, and she had another friend. I think his name was Brent Miley.
Detective Armstrong: Interesting. What kind of friendship did she have with Brent?
Elizabeth Sherman: Oh, I see where you're headed with this. She wasn’t having an affair. He was just a fellow runner that she met at the hospital. They used to get together a couple of days a week to run, but recently Ron was having some health issues so I think they just walked instead of ran lately. Other than that, they didn’t hang out.
Detective Murphy: What kind of health issues was she having?
Elizabeth Sherman: There was a problem with her thyroid, and they were having trouble getting her meds right. Her weight kept fluctuating and some of the side effects were very uncomfortable. It wasn't very pleasant for her.
Detective Armstrong: Can you think of anyone who didn’t care for Veronica?
Elizabeth Sherman: Well, I told you about the two nurses. Someone sure had it out for her because they sliced all four of her tires while she was at the hospital a few weeks ago.
Detective Armstrong: Did she know who did it?
Elizabeth Sherman: No, but she thought it was probably just some bored teenagers with mischief on their minds. I though she should take it seriously because of the text messages she had been receiving.
Detective Murphy: Where did she take the car to have it re-tired?
Elizabeth Sherman: I have no idea. She just told me about the incident. We didn’t go into a detailed discussion about what happened after.
Detective Murphy: Can you think of anyone who would want Veronica dead?
Elizabeth Sherman: No, I cannot. Wait. She was being sued, and I know the hospital was very upset about it because they were being sued also. Maybe one of the stuffed shirts on the board or something like that?
Detective Armstrong: How about anyone who would benefit from her death?
Elizabeth Sherman: I don’t see how anyone would benefit from her death.
Detective Armstrong: Do you know if she had life insurance?
Elizabeth Sherman: Oh! Wallace. I never thought of that. What if he gets custody of Haley now that Ron is gone? After all, he is her biological father. I wonder if he would also then have control over Haley’s benefits. I just don’t know how that would legally work.
Detective Murphy: What is Wallace’s last name?
Elizabeth Sherman: Smith. He’s Ron’s ex-husband.
Detective Armstrong: What about her current husband?
Elizabeth Sherman: Of course, he was the main beneficiary, but he would never do anything like that. He’s a good man.
Detective Armstrong: And you? Do you stand to inherit anything from your sister's estate?
Elizabeth Sherman: Me? I don't think so.
Detective Murphy: Do you think your sister was capable of taking her own life?
Elizabeth Sherman: I know she felt terrible about that woman who died.
Detective Armstrong: How terrible did she feel?
Elizabeth Sherman: Think about it. How would you feel if you were responsible for someone’s death?
Detective Armstrong: Did she talk to you about how she felt?
Elizabeth Sherman: Of course she did. She tried to rationalize it. She knew that there was always a risk in any medical procedure, but when it actually happened to her it was quite a shock. Like I said, she felt terrible.
Detective Murphy: So you think she was capable of suicide then?
Elizabeth Sherman: Yes. Yes, I do.
Detective Armstrong: Where were you the evening of May 11th?
Elizabeth Sherman: I was at home with my family most of the evening. I went to Walmart to pick up some groceries while Heath and the kids watched a movie.
Detective Murphy: What time did you go to Walmart and how long were you there?
Elizabeth Sherman: I don’t know. It was after dinner. I was gone maybe an hour and a half. What does any of this matter anyway?
Detective Armstrong: You didn’t stop anywhere else while you were out?
Elizabeth Sherman: No. Oh yes, I did. I stopped by the clinic to check on a poodle that I did a surgery on earlier. That was maybe another 20 minutes tops.
Detective Armstrong: That's all for now. Thanks for your cooperation. We'll be in touch if we have any more questions.
Elizabeth Sherman: OK, bye.
Interview ends: 2:22 p.m.