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Interview: Follow-up with Becky Pace

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - 6:20 p.m.

The witness, Rebecca Pace, was identified as the sister of the victim, Kimberly Pace. Detectives Armstrong and Murphy conducted this follow-up interview at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department. The interview was recorded with the witness's knowledge and consent.

Participants:

  • Detective T. Armstrong
  • Detective S. Murphy
  • Becky Pace

Detective Murphy: For the record, could you please tell us your full name and address?

Becky Pace: Rebecca Pace. I live at 812 South 5th.

Detective Murphy: Thanks for coming in, Becky. I don't know if you recall Detective Murphy here. I'm Detective Armstrong. We've got just a few questions if that'll be all right.

Becky Pace: OK.

Detective Armstrong: Now, a few things have come up from other witnesses that we wanted to go over with you.

Becky Pace: Whatever you want to know, just ask.

Detective Murphy: Are you having a relationship with anyone, either right now or recently?

Becky Pace: You mean, with a man? No. I haven't seen anyone for months.

Detective Murphy: Well, we found a pregnancy test in Kimberly's trash, and your fingerprints are on it. Can you explain that?

Becky Pace: I put it there. The box, I mean. And the fingerprint too, I guess.

Detective Armstrong: You haven't seen anyone in months, but you used a pregnancy test? What's up with that?

Becky Pace: It's not mine. I was given by a friend‒given‒it was given to me by a friend to throw it away.

Detective Murphy: Becky, now is not the time to be coy. Who gave you the box?

Becky Pace: She's going kill me for telling you. It was Cheryl's. A few days before we went to pick up Kim, she was worried she might be pregnant, so she took the test. And then she was worried that one of her kids would find the box, so she gave it to me so I could get rid of it. And it was‒it was in my car for about a week, and then when I was at Kim's the day before... you know... I was cleaning out some junk and there it was, so I threw it in the trash.

Detective Murphy: Well, but we didn't find any of Cheryl's prints on that box.

Becky Pace: Well, I don't know what to tell you about that. It's not like she didn't touch it. She handed it right to me when she asked me to throw it away.

Detective Murphy: Why didn't she give you the whole test to throw away?

Becky Pace: Because that would be gross. I mean, would you give someone something with your pee on it to throw away for you?

Detective Murphy: Didn't you say she was worried her kids might find it?

Becky Pace: The box, yeah. But the test stuff? I don't know. I guess she wasn't worried about that. When you were 11 years old, did you know what a pregnancy test looked like?

Detective Murphy: Do you know what the test results were?

Becky Pace: Negative. She wasn't pregnant.

Detective Murphy: How do you know?

Becky Pace: Because she told me so.

Detective Armstrong: And you're absolutely positive the box in Kimberly's trash was from Cheryl's test?

Becky Pace: Yes!

Detective Murphy: How did your sister's prints get on the box?

Becky Pace: I don't know. Maybe I handed it to her and she threw it away. I don't remember. She helped me clean out my car that day. In fact, it was her idea. She said it looked like a pigsty. So if her prints were on it, that must be how it happened.

Detective Armstrong: Did Kimberly ask you why you had the box in your car?

Becky Pace: I think it told her it was a friend's who didn't want to put it in her own trash.

Detective Armstrong: She didn't ask you who the friend was?

Becky Pace: She did, but I didn't tell her.

Detective Armstrong: Why not?

Becky Pace: Cheryl asked me not to tell anyone, so I didn't.

Detective Armstrong: You think Cheryl didn't want Kimberly to know?

Becky Pace: I don't know. Maybe Cheryl had already told her. I don't know. But Cheryl asked me not to tell anyone, so I didn't.

Detective Armstrong: Not even your sister, who was also Cheryl's friend?

Becky Pace: Right. If Cheryl wanted her to know, Cheryl would tell her. All I know is I promised I wouldn't say anything.

Detective Murphy: So, even though we found your fingerprints and Kimberly's fingerprints on the box and we did not find any of Cheryl's prints on the box, you're still saying it was hers?

Becky Pace: Yes. Yes, that is what I'm saying. Why don't you ask her? Cheryl, I mean.

Detective Murphy: We will. So, Becky, were you having an affair with Paul?

Becky Pace: You're joking. Me and Paul? No.

Detective Murphy: Have you ever had a romantic or sexual relationship with Paul Evans?

Becky Pace: I don't even know why you'd ask such a thing. He was my sister's boyfriend, not mine. He's my friend and we goof around and stuff, but we're just friends. Never been anything else.

Detective Armstrong: How about Paul and Lila Lawson, the gallery owner? What kind of relationship do they have?

Becky Pace: Lila? I don't know. I don't really know her that well. She helps him with his art stuff, you know. That's all. I never saw them out to dinner or anything like that. Though, she does smile at him a lot. No... I think he would have told me if something was going on there.

Detective Murphy: Something going on, like what?

Becky Pace: Like, if she was trying to make moves on him or something. He's told me before about other girls trying to come on to him. Stuff like that. Paul was faithful to my sister. I don't know why that's so hard for y'all to believe. He loved her.

Detective Armstrong: So you're sure he wasn't seeing anyone other than your sister?

Becky Pace: Yes, I'm sure.

Detective Murphy: Do you know when Paul picked up his bowls and so forth from Kimberly's house for the gallery showing?

Becky Pace: Not specifically. Probably a couple days before the show. He didn't mention anything to me and neither did Kim, so I'm only guessing.

Detective Murphy: Do you know if Kimberly thought she might be pregnant?

Becky Pace: Kimberly couldn't have been pregnant, not without telling me. And she never would have kept it from me.

Detective Armstrong: Where were you during the day of Saturday, September 24th, before you met Kimberly at the gallery?

Becky Pace: I was at work during the day, and then I‒we closed up around 6:00, and I went to see Mom at the nursing home. I called Kimberly around 6:30 so she could talk to Mom. I stayed around a little while after they got off the phone, and then I left a little before 7:00 to get ready.

Detective Armstrong: Did you drive to the opening together, with your sister?

Becky Pace: No, we met there. I don't know why. I left at the same time as she did, but we came in separate cars.

Detective Murphy: Do you remember what Kim was wearing that night?

Becky Pace: Sure. It was a red top and a black skirt.

Detective Murphy: That red top, was that the same one she was wearing when you found her body?

Becky Pace: Uh... I'm sorry. Yes, it was the same one.

Detective Murphy: But she wasn't wearing the black skirt?

Becky Pace: No. She was wearing those khaki pants. Actually, as we were leaving the gallery, she said she couldn't wait to get home and get out of the skirt and the heels she was wearing.

Detective Murphy: Those khaki pants, had you seen them before?

Becky Pace: Yeah, she wore them a lot. Why? Does it matter?

Detective Armstrong: What time was it when you left the gallery then?

Becky Pace: It was somewhere around 9:30.

Detective Armstrong: Did you leave the gallery alone?

Becky Pace: Kim and I walked out together, and then I got in my car and she got in hers. And yeah, I was alone after that.

Detective Armstrong: Where did you go when you left the gallery?

Becky Pace: I stopped at the Colonel's to pick up a bottle of wine, and then I went home

Detective Armstrong: Did you see anyone you knew there?

Becky Pace: I don't think so. I don't remember.

Detective Armstrong: Did you talk to anyone? Or did anyone talk to you?

Becky Pace: I don't know. I talked to the clerk obviously, but I don't remember talking to anyone else.

Detective Armstrong: And you got home about ten? What makes you so sure about the time?

Becky Pace: When I turned on the television, the local news was on. It comes on at ten, I think. I also looked at the clock and wondered if it was too late to order a pizza.

Detective Armstrong: Was it?

Becky Pace: No, it wasn't. I called and they brought me a triple cheese deep dish.

Detective Armstrong: What pizza place was that?

Becky Pace: Dominos.

Detective Murphy: Let's go back to the morning you picked up Jeremy and Cheryl on your way over to Kimberly's. Do you normally swing by Jeremy's house before you go over to Kim's when you're driving?

Becky Pace: Yeah, I guess so. I never‒I never really thought about it. Why? Is that weird that we would drive over?

Detective Armstrong: Well, some people might expect Jeremy to walk over and meet you at Kimberly's.

Becky Pace: Only those who don't know Jeremy. He doesn't walk anywhere. Besides, Kimberly was always fooling around with this and that. If Jeremy went over there before we got there, Kim would been wandering around, talking to him and trying to figure out what to wear instead of just getting dressed. Some things you had to pressure Kim about, like getting ready, and Jeremy is more of a distraction than a help when it comes to that.

Detective Murphy: Now let's see. Did your sister ever talk to you about Laurence Bricker, Patrick Richards, Cody Matthews or Carter Nichols? Any of those sound familiar?

Becky Pace: I guess. Well, she complained about Laurence always giving her a hard time, trying to bust her chops about her teaching style. I don't know why she let him get to her. I met him. He's just a bitter, lonely man. At least, that's what I always told her.

Detective Murphy: What about the others?

Becky Pace: I'm not sure I know who the others were. I think one of them was some kid who she thought was following her. Did she ever tell me his name? You have to understand, Kim always tried to protect me, like I was a little kid. Sometimes she just made random comments without many specifics.

Detective Murphy: Did she say if she was going to do anything about the kid following her?

Becky Pace: She said she thought he was harmless. I told her to call the police, but she didn't think it needed to come to that.

Detective Armstrong: What was she going to do about it?

Becky Pace: I think she was going to try to talk to him, but then she stopped mentioning it. Maybe it just worked itself out?

Detective Armstrong: Would you know this kid if you saw him? Do you know what he looks like?

Becky Pace: I'm not sure. I saw him a few times when I was with Kim. I probably should've paid more attention, but she always said how harmless he was. But I might recognize him.

Detective Murphy: Any other students she mentioned?

Becky Pace: Yes! That kid that wrote the article. She was pissed as hell at him. She said she was going to make him pay big time.

Detective Armstrong: How so?

Becky Pace: She didn't say, only that he was going to be sorry.

Detective Armstrong: Any ideas on what she might have been planning?

Becky Pace: I don't know. Sometimes Kim had trouble with follow-through, you know? She would threaten to do things, and then she'd back off and not do anything and just let things make her miserable.

Detective Armstrong: For instance?

Becky Pace: Oh, like Arthur. He drove her nuts. He was always complaining and leaving notes on her door about the trash cans and the dogs and the way her car was parked and just on and on and on. She always said that he was going to be sorry, that she was going to give him some real payback. And then she never did anything. Just tried to ignore it. I tried to get her to hire a detective or something, to watch him, you know? To see if he was doing things to mess with her head, but she just wouldn't do it. She was afraid it would just make things worse. I wish she had. I wish she'd given him something to worry about for once.

Detective Armstrong: You think Arthur Beck bore your sister any malice?

Becky Pace: I'm sure you know about the feud and all. Over the dogs?

Detective Armstrong: We've heard some details, yes.

Becky Pace: Well, it was everything. Everything she did, he was on her about it. It was like his life was devoted to making her miserable. She didn't bring in her mail, left her trash cans out too long, played her music too loud, the dog barked, there were too many cars in her driveway. It was always something.

Detective Armstrong: What can you tell us about the details concerning Emerson's death? Do you know what happened to him?

Becky Pace: He got into something and it poisoned him. That's all I know.

Detective Murphy: Do you remember getting a message on your answering machine from Kelsey Newman that she found Emerson dead?

Becky Pace: Yes, I remember. I felt sorry for the poor girl. She was so upset. By the time I got the message, it was too late. I was out of town for a long weekend, visiting a friend in New York. Well, a man. No, it didn't work out either. I haven't talked to him in ages.

Detective Murphy: Do you know whether your sister routinely kept a key to her house hidden outside anywhere?

Becky Pace: No, she didn't.

Detective Armstrong: Kelsey Newman said Kimberly told her to leave the house key under the lawn gnome after Emerson died. Does that sound like something Kimberly would have said?

Becky Pace: Oh sure. She was so upset then, I'm sure she didn't want to see that poor girl.

Detective Armstrong: Do you know if she ever told anyone else to leave a key under the lawn gnome?

Becky Pace: Not that I know of.

Detective Murphy: Is there any chance she left that key out there or would she have retrieved it right away?

Becky Pace: You mean, is it still there now? I doubt it. She might not have gotten it first thing, but she wouldn't have left it out there forever.

Detective Armstrong: Did Kimberly blame anyone for Emerson's death?

Becky Pace: She thought Arthur did it, that he poisoned him.

Detective Armstrong: Did she have any proof?

Becky Pace: No, she didn't. There was nothing anybody could do to prove it. That was the problem. No closure.

Detective Murphy: Did you believe Kimberly was right?

Becky Pace: I didn't then. I thought she was just crazy with grief...

Detective Murphy: And now?

Becky Pace: I don't know. He is a nasty man, that Arthur. And I wonder if he did. Sometimes I really do. And then I think it's just that I hate him so much for making Kimberly a nervous wreck that I don't really have any perspective, you know?

Detective Murphy: OK, Becky, now that you've had a little time to reflect on everything, do she have any theories on who might've wanted to kill Kimberly?

Becky Pace: I don't have proof of anything, if that's what you mean.

Detective Armstrong: Is there anyone you suspect?

Becky Pace: Well, it's just a hunch... a feeling.

Detective Armstrong: Tell us about it.

Becky Pace: Well, Arthur is acting weird. I mean, even for Arthur. Why didn't he at least ask us why were so upset that morning? Why did he act like he didn't even see us? Why did Thoreau act that way? It's just a feeling and I'm probably imagining it.

Detective Armstrong: Has he said anything to you since that day? Has he sent a card or flowers?

Becky Pace: No. He just asked me if I was going to get Kim's stuff out of the house, and if Thoreau was coming back.

Detective Armstrong: He asked like that?

Becky Pace: No, he was nasty. He was just like, "Well, I hope you're getting your sister's stuff out of that house so I can finally rest easy. And I hope that damn dog isn't coming back here." Like that.

Detective Murphy: How is Thoreau doing now?

Becky Pace: He's doing really well. I have him with me. In fact, I'm going to move to a bigger place soon, so he can have more room. He stays at Cheryl's sometimes because the kids love him so much. He's happy, but I can tell he misses Kim. Sometimes I see him sort of searching for her, like she's going to walk through the door. Sad, you know?

Detective Murphy: This bigger place you're planning to move into, do you have some place in mind?

Becky Pace: No, not yet.

Detective Murphy: What about your sister's house? Didn't she leave it to you?

Becky Pace: Well, yeah. But y'all haven't let anyone back in yet. I thought it was going to be that way for a while.

Detective Murphy: It could be. Is that the only reason you wouldn't move in there?

Becky Pace: That, and I'm not sure I can afford to keep up the mortgage payments. I just don't know yet.

Detective Murphy: It's good that it wouldn't bother you to live in that house now, knowing that your sister's body was found there.

Becky Pace: Oh my God! I can't believe you said that. Yes, that would bother me, but I also have a lot of good memories from that house. We had a lot of fun there over the years. It might be like Kim was still around if I could live there. Or it might just be a constant reminder of what happened to her there. I don't know. I just don't know.

Detective Murphy: OK, Becky. Thanks for coming in.

Becky Pace: Sure, any time.

Detective Armstrong: Just one more thing. Before your sister was killed, did you know she made you the beneficiary of her life insurance policy?

Becky Pace: Yeah. She told me a couple of weeks before she died. Mostly, it was so we could pay for Mom in case anything happened to Kim. I'm ashamed to say that she covered most of the expenses. I'm not so good with money. Anyways, hopefully, it will. Help me pay for Mom.

Detective Armstrong: Do you have any idea what the value of that policy is?

Becky Pace: I think $100,000.

Detective Armstrong: That's a lot of money.

Becky Pace: Yeah. 'Course, I won't see a penny of it until you guys figure out who killed Kimberly.

Detective Armstrong: All right. Well, I think that's all I need to hear.

End interview 6:51 p.m.

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