|Join the investigation. Learn how to participate. Details Here|
|Evidence: Voluntary Statement by Dana Pomeroy|
At approximately 10:00 a.m. on Monday, June 5, 2000, Dana Pomeroy came in to the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department with her new attorney, Rex Lanham, and submitted the following voluntary statement to Detectives Armstrong and Murphy. Ms. Pomeroy and Mr. Lanham were asked to wait in an interview room while the detectives reviewed the statement. After they had read the statement, the detectives contacted District Attorney Jake Hood to come to the Sheriff's Department to review the statement himself and to sit in on the subsequent interview.
After the Sheriff's Department searched my house on May 30, 2000, I began to have serious concerns about my standing in this case. I thought it over and discussed it with my parents. We decided the first thing I should do was to retain an attorney I paid for myself, instead of someone paid by the person who got me into this mess in the first place. I hired Rex Lanham and he advised me on the preparation of this statement.
In July of 1999, I took a part-time job at Good Graces to supplement my income from my other part-time job at Cupid's Couples. I had taken some classes at Good Graces while I was in school at the University of Mississippi, so I was familiar with the company's legitimate operations. At that time, I had heard rumors about Good Graces' other activities, but I was not aware of the full extent of those activities.
In early October of 1999, Natasha Van Moore approached me about using my position at Cupid's Couples to obtain information that would help Good Graces increase its income. Natasha asked me to bring her files of wealthy Cupid's Couples clients who might be interested in attending Good Graces parties. She said she wanted access to the clients' interests, hobbies, and so forth, so she could organize party themes that would appeal to them. She promised she would not make copies of the files, but would only make notes on the information she was interested in, and then I could take the files back to Cupid's Couples. She said she would pay me $250 for each file I brought her. I couldn't see how anyone would be hurt by this arrangement and I needed the money, so I agreed. I guess I was pretty naive then. It wasn't until about six weeks later that I found out what Natasha was really doing with the files.
I noticed that a lot of the Cupid's Couples clients whose files I'd taken to Natasha were freezing their statuses with Cupid's Couples, which meant they didn't want any more introductions until further notice. I asked Natasha about it and that was when she told me she was setting up some Good Graces students with certain wealthy party attendees. I was angry and told her I wouldn't bring her any more files. She insisted there was nothing wrong and that I should continue to get files for her. She even doubled my per file fee to $500. She assured me she was not in direct competition with Cupid's Couples because the dates she was coordinating were completely different from the ones Cupid's Couples arranged. I wasn't really comfortable with our deal anymore, but she was very persistent and at double the money, I couldn't bring myself to end it. But it was clear to me from that moment that the dates Natasha was setting up were for sex, not to help people meet someone to fall in love with. It took me longer to figure out how the dates tied into the Good Graces sponsorship program.
There are basically three categories of Good Graces sponsors, but two of those categories kind of overlap. The first category is made up of the generic do-gooders, who really do think they're making the world a better place by helping unrefined young people learn some manners. There are actually more of these people than you might think and most of the ones who are affiliated with Good Graces are completely oblivious to everything else that goes on there. These sponsors are referred to inside Good Graces as "whites" because of the virginal implication, I guess.
The second category is the people Natasha had set up with Good Graces students and who, in turn, sponsored one or more students to pay her for arranging the dates. These people are referred to internally as "reds," which is supposed to be a big joke because of the whole red light district thing.
The third category is the group of unfortunate people, mostly men, who had been on dates Natasha set up and who'd had photographs or video or both taken of them without their knowledge. The pictures and/or video are then used to encourage the person in them to sponsor more students. These people are referred to as "blacks" because of the blackmail, and just who exactly is in this group is a very closely guarded secret. Only Natasha, Billie, Kay and I know the black group even exists, but probably only Natasha knows who all the blacks are.
There are also "red" and "white" students because not all of the Good Graces students were involved in the sex part. So at the parties, we would give out red and white boutonnieres and corsages so the red sponsors and students would be able to recognize each other. Natasha paid the red students for every date they had with a sponsor from the money that sponsor paid Good Graces.
I've told you why I agreed to help Natasha - because of the money. But you're probably wondering why Natasha asked me to help her in the first place. I know I wondered about that for a while. Apparently, when she was dating and married to Ken Edwards, she realized there was an opportunity to make money off of all the very busy, wealthy people, who didn't have the time to develop a relationship with someone, but still wanted some "physical comfort" from time to time. When she was moving in Ken's social circle, it was easy for her to identify wealthy people who might be candidates to be red and/or black sponsors.
But when they split up, she pretty much lost most of her contacts in that world. So she needed some way to find out which people in town had money and were looking. Since she'd worked at Cupid's Couples, she knew that would be a perfect place to get that information, but she couldn't exactly go back to work there when she had her own business to run. I guess I just happened to be in the right place at the right time, as far as she was concerned. And for a while, it was all running smoothly.
Sometime in late January, after I'd been borrowing files for several months, I noticed I was starting to get strange looks and probing questions from Corinna Morgan. She's so relentlessly honest and I could tell she thought I was up to something. I told Natasha we needed to take a break for a while because Corinna was getting suspicious. But Natasha didn't want to and she's the one who came up with the plan to get Corinna fired and get her out of our way. To be honest, I never thought it would work. I just didn't think Trudi and Kelly would actually fire Corinna, but they did.
Unfortunately, it only made our problem worse. Now I had either Trudi or Kelly, mostly Trudi, hanging over me all the time, making sure I was getting everything done right, since there hadn't been time to get me up to speed on Corinna's job before she left. I couldn't get any files out at all then and Natasha was getting really frustrated. One day in March, she gave me a box of powdered sugar. She told me to replace the sugar we had in the office with what she gave me. She said she'd put "a little something" in the sugar that would make the people who used it feel a little sick, but she promised me it wouldn't really hurt them or cause them any permanent harm.
The idea was to get Trudi and Kelly out of my hair and it worked. Kelly started staying home sick more, which wasn't really a surprise because she's always been one to call in sick when she just had the sniffles. But I didn't think it would work as well with Trudi because she always came to work, no matter how bad she felt. She would have come to work with pneumonia, if she'd had it. Even with that, Trudi did start spending more time at her desk because she didn't feel well and she left early or came in late occasionally. I guess I should have known then, but I just didn't see it. I didn't realize how serious the situation really was.
I don't have any proof of who killed Trudi, but I'm almost positive Natasha was behind it. The Friday before Trudi died, she had lunch with Natasha. I'm not sure what they talked about, but I think Trudi had found out that Good Graces was using information from Cupid's Couples to help them blackmail people. I think she told Natasha she had to stop and she probably told her she was going to tell the police what Natasha was doing. I do know that Natasha was absolutely furious Friday afternoon and the whole weekend. She seemed to have calmed down to a controlled rage by Sunday, but maybe that was because she'd decided what she had to do.
When I'd finished lunch after my doctor's appointment on Monday, the day Trudi died, I called Natasha to see if she wanted me to stop by on my way to Cupid's Couples. I really only meant to be at Good Graces for ten minutes or so, but Natasha, Billie, and Kay kept finding reasons for me to stay a little longer. Billie asked me to help her set up for an afternoon class. Natasha wanted me to double-check some invoices in Accounts Payable. Kay asked me to help her bring in some stuff from her car. They insisted I had to try one of the muffins Billie had bought at the Bottletree that morning. It seemed like they were trying to keep me from leaving, but it got to be after 2:00 and I just couldn't stay any longer. I was already really late and I didn't want Trudi to be mad at me.
Then, I'd barely gotten out the door of Good Graces and on my way to Cupid's Couples when Natasha called me on my cell phone. She kept me talking about nothing all the way to the office and even while I was walking in. So I was still on the phone with her when I found Trudi. In a way, it was a good thing because I was totally freaking out and she was really calm. She helped me calm down and told me to call 911. She said the police would come soon and they'd probably be around for a while, so I shouldn't worry about calling her back because there probably wouldn't be time. She also told me I probably shouldn't mention I was on the phone with her when I found Trudi because it might sound suspicious. She said the police would already suspect me because I was the one who found Trudi and I should just keep quiet about as much as possible. It all made sense then. I thought she was trying to help me, to protect me. But now, I'm not sure. I think she might have been setting me up.
I have come forward with this statement now because it looks like I really am a suspect in Trudi's murder, like Detective Armstrong and Detective Murphy actually think I killed her. I did not. I didn't have anything to do with her death at all. Natasha assured me from the beginning that, while I might be a suspect in Trudi's murder because I found her, there was no way I'd ever even be arrested, much less convicted for it. I don't believe her anymore. I don't think I trust her. I don't think I ever should have.
//Dana A. Pomeroy
//Douglas T. Johnson, Notary Public