Sunday, May 27, 2012 – 11:30 a.m.
Wallace Smith is Veronica Smith’s ex-husband. He is a pharmaceutical salesman living in New York. Detectives Murphy and Parker interviewed him via Skype. The interview was recorded with the witness's knowledge and consent.
- Detective S. Murphy
- Detective E. Parker
- Wallace Smith
Detective Murphy: Hello, Mr. Smith. I’m Detective Murphy. This is Detective Parker sitting in with us today. Thanks for taking time to talk to us.
Wallace Smith: My pleasure.
Detective Murphy: You know, Mr. Smith, we kind of expected to see you down here in Oxford.
Wallace Smith: Yeah, I can’t ever seem to get there as often as I’d like. I’m trying to make space in my schedule to get there sometime soon, but it’s not easy.
Detective Murphy: Why is it so difficult?
Wallace Smith: I travel on business almost every day. With the economy right now the way it is and healthcare as high cost as it is, it’s hard for drug reps to get a day off.
Detective Parker: And you enjoy your line of work?
Wallace Smith: I love it for the most part. It’s a lot harder than it used to be, but I’m very good at it, and it does make my personal life a little bit difficult.
Detective Parker: How so?
Wallace Smith: Well, the worst thing with all the traveling is I don’t get to see my daughter as much as I used to, and she’s growing up without me. She’s growing further and further away from me. She doesn’t understand why I can’t see her when she wants to.
Detective Murphy: You thought about finding another line of work?
Wallace Smith: Yes, actually, I have, but this is what I know. This is what I’ve studied for. And at my age, it’s hard to change jobs right now.
Detective Parker: We want to talk about your ex-wife, Veronica Smith. Do you know about her death?
Wallace Smith: Yes. It happened quite suddenly. What happened to her?
Detective Parker: How do you know about it?
Wallace Smith: Veronica’s husband George, he called me. He wanted me to know, so I wouldn’t say the wrong thing to Haley.
Detective Murphy: What was your reaction to the news of her death?
Wallace Smith: Well, I was terribly shocked. I didn’t know there was anything wrong with Veronica. And it’s awful, especially for Haley.
Detective Murphy: What did Mr. O’Connor tell you exactly?
Wallace Smith: He just said that she had died. He was pretty upset about it. We didn’t talk very long.
Detective Murphy: You didn’t contact anybody else to find out what happened?
Wallace Smith: No. What difference does it make? She’s dead. That’s all that matters.
Detective Parker: So George didn’t mention anything about suicide?
Wallace Smith: What? No! She would never do that. Did she do that?
Detective Murphy: What do you think?
Wallace Smith: The Veronica I know would never do that.
Detective Parker: How would you describe your relationship with Veronica?
Wallace Smith: She was my ex-wife. I’m not going to lie. We were not on good terms when she passed away.
Detective Parker: And what was the problem?
Wallace Smith: Basically, she thought I was a horrible person for not seeing Haley as much as I wanted to or as much as Haley needed me. But I’m traveling most of the time, and she sees a lot of drug reps in her practice so she knows how hard it is for me. She always acted like she didn’t understand.
Detective Murphy: What was it she didn’t understand?
Wallace Smith: Well, I missed some of my visitation. I’m not proud of it, but it happens. But I’m traveling, so I can’t change plans just like that. Veronica thought I was making excuses, but I wasn’t.
Detective Murphy: When was the last time that you actually spoke to Dr. Smith?
Wallace Smith: It was about a week before she died.
Detective Murphy: And what did you two talk about?
Wallace Smith: We talked about Haley. Veronica filed a petition to take away my parental rights. I was furious because I love my daughter.
Detective Parker: And are you still angry?
Wallace Smith: Yes, even though she’s gone, I’m still angry about it.
Detective Parker: And did she have any reason to do that?
Wallace Smith: Well, cards on the table? Back when Veronica filed for divorce, I was a mess. I never would’ve gotten through med school without Veronica’s help. I gave up on myself, and I started drinking pretty heavy. And we started fighting more and more. That’s what caused our divorce.
Detective Parker: So your drinking was the reason she wanted to terminate your rights?
Wallace Smith: No, I got myself back together, but she couldn’t let go of it. She thought I had never changed, and then when I had to cancel plans and make different arrangements, she thought it was because I was drinking. But I stopped that a long time ago. I’m sober now and I’m pretty proud of it, but she always believed the worst of me.
Detective Murphy: How do you feel about Veronica now?
Wallace Smith: Honestly, I never stopped loving her. I don’t think Veronica ever really loved me though. She married me because she got pregnant.
Detective Murphy: Did Veronica have full custody of your daughter?
Wallace Smith: Yes. She got full custody in the divorce because of my drinking. I have my visitation rights, and I see Haley on most weekends, and I pay child support. And I have never missed a support payment. Never.
Detective Parker: So you can give your daughter money but you can’t give her your time?
Wallace Smith: Yes, I know how it sounds, but I’m not that guy. I wish I could see Haley every weekend. Heck, I wish I could see her every day, but I don’t make it down there but once a month, so I can’t even work that out. Making sure Haley has enough money is the least I can do. At least she can get what she wants, right?
Detective Murphy: Do you still talk to Haley, even though you don’t visit?
Wallace Smith: We used to talk on the phone or Skype, but we don’t do that much.
Detective Murphy: Why not?
Wallace Smith: Well, because whenever I try to contact Haley, she’d never answer the phone. So I’d try to get ahold of Veronica, and Veronica would tell me she’s not there. I really think Veronica was trying to break up my relationship with my daughter.
Detective Parker: Did you try to see or talk to your daughter after you heard about Dr. Smith’s death?
Wallace Smith: I wanted to, but George, he said that I shouldn’t contact Haley for a while. He said it might upset her even more if we started talking about her mom’s death.
Detective Parker: When was the last time you talked Haley?
Wallace Smith: Oh, it was last month around Eastertime. I had some time off, so I got down there to see her. Veronica and George, they made plans to go somewhere for the weekend and Haley wanted to go with them. So I didn’t get as much time as I wanted to, but what can I do?
Detective Murphy: How do you get along with George?
Wallace Smith: I never really had any reason to dislike him. That was until he asked me to give up my parental rights, and so he could adopt Haley. After that, I’ve lost all respect for him.
Detective Murphy: Has your relationship with him always been like that?
Wallace Smith: I really don’t have a relationship with him. When he and Veronica got married, I talked to him a little bit and asked him to be kind to Haley. He must be doing a good job because Haley likes spending time with him. But I’m her father, not George.
Detective Murphy: So how do you really feel about her relationship with him?
Wallace Smith: I admit it. I’m jealous. It hurts. He’s taking my place as her father, and I want Haley to live with me now, but that’ll take some time. I don’t want to rush into it. She has to adjust to her mother’s death, so I’ll let things settle down and then I’ll ask her to come move and live with me.
Detective Parker: How well did you know Veronica’s sister, Elizabeth Sherman?
Wallace Smith: Elizabeth? Oh, Elizabeth was always cold towards me, and I think she was jealous with Veronica too. There was some kind of animosity towards the two them. I could never understand it.
Detective Parker: What kind of animosity?
Wallace Smith: Well, Veronica said that Elizabeth was jealous of her and never really acted like a real sister. I think Veronica would’ve loved to have that personal relationship with her sister Elizabeth as a sister, but Elizabeth just wasn’t interested.
Detective Murphy: Did Dr. Smith have any enemies that you know of?
Wallace Smith: Why are you asking me? Why are you asking me all these questions? Because you don’t think she committed suicide now?
Detective Murphy: We’re investigating all the possibilities, Mr. Smith. So do you know if she had any enemies?
Wallace Smith: The only guy I know is the one that’s filing the malpractice suit against her. I found out about it last year when I talked to Veronica about my visitation with Haley. She said that she just couldn’t deal that and my problems on top of it, so—but doctors get sued all the time. I was surprised she was having such a problem with it.
Detective Parker: What about you?
Wallace Smith: Me?
Detective Parker: Wouldn’t some people say you were Veronica’s enemy?
Wallace Smith: I don’t know what some people might say, but I loved her. I wasn’t her enemy. I would never hurt her if I wanted to because of Haley. It would hurt her too much.
Detective Parker: Where were you the night Veronica died, Friday, May 11th?
Wallace Smith: I was my apartment up in Jamaica, Queens.
Detective Parker: Alone?
Wallace Smith: Yeah, alone.
Detective Murphy: If it wasn’t suicide, is there anyone that you can think of that we should talk to about Veronica’s death?
Wallace Smith: You mean like somebody killed her?
Detective Murphy: Yeah. You know of anyone like that?
Wallace Smith: Well, there’s George, the husband. Of course, he’s always a suspect, right? And probably some of the people that she works with down there at the office. There’s a lot of drama going on down there. And the guy with the malpractice suit, I’d talk to him. Of course, I’d always add Elizabeth. She seemed to have something wrong. Other than that, I don’t know of anybody else.
Detective Parker: Did you know Mr. O’Connor took Haley to the father-daughter dance the night of Dr. Smith’s death?
Wallace Smith: What? No, I didn’t. Not that it would’ve mattered much, but she didn’t even ask me.
Detective Murphy: Well, thanks for your help, Mr. Smith. We may need to talk to you again later.
Wallace Smith: You’re welcome. I’ll help any way I can. Goodbye.
Detective Parker: Thank you.
Interview ends: 11:46 a.m.