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Witness Interview: Kelly Clinton, Cupid's Couples Co-Owner

Kelly ClintonTuesday, May 2, 2000 - 5:30 p.m.

In response to the detectives' request for a second interview, Kelly Clinton voluntarily came in to the Yoknapatawpha Sheriff's Office. Ms. Clinton was not in custody and chose not to have an attorney present during the interview.

SM = Det. S. Murphy
TA = Det. T. Armstrong
KC = Kelly Clinton

SM: Thank you for coming in. Would you please state your name and address for the record?

KC: Kelly Clinton. 812 Sisk.

SM: Now, Ms. Clinton, you know that we consider Mrs. Rose's death suspicious and, in our opinion, it was the result of foul play. Test results show that Mrs. Rose was a victim of arsenic poisoning.

KC: Are you sure? I mean, you're sure that's why she died?

TA: Yes, ma'am. We're sure.

KC: I... I don't believe it.

SM: Well, we've just gotten your preliminary test results back too. You also have an abnormally high level of arsenic in your system, though it's lower than what Mrs. Rose's was. So that means you've been poisoned too.

KC: No. That can't be right. I had the stomach flu, sure. But poisoned? I don't think so.

SM: We have no reason to lie to you about this, Ms. Clinton. You should know you're not in any immediate danger. We don't think you've been exposed to any arsenic since Mrs. Rose's death. We've spoken to your doctor and advised her of your situation. You should talk to her as soon as we're finished here to make an appointment with her.

KC: What? What are you telling me? Someone's trying to kill me?

TA: What do you think?

KC: Why would someone want to kill me? Or Trudi either, for that matter? It's... bizarre.

SM: Who would want to hurt you or Mrs. Rose or both of you?

KC: I don't know. I can't think of anyone. It's beyond me to even imagine that.

SM: What about Bobby Joe Rose?

KC: What about him?

SM: Would he have any reason to want to kill you or Mrs. Rose?

KC: No! That's crazy! Why? Why would he want to kill us?

SM: I don't know that he did. I'm asking if you think he did. Just take a deep breath. Try to calm down. Was there any trouble between Mr. and Mrs. Rose? Any disagreements, financial problems, infidelities?

KC: No... I... no.

SM: I have to tell you, Ms. Clinton, you don't sound entirely sure about that. Why is that?

KC: Well, I don't actually know anything for sure, you know? It was just something we talked about really... It was no big deal... Okay about five or six months ago, Trudi told me she thought Bobby Joe might be having an affair. Nothing ever came of it. She only talked about it for a few weeks and she never mentioned it again after that.

SM: Did she say who she thought he was having the affair with?

KC: No.

SM: Was it you?

KC: Was I having an affair with Bobby Joe? Don't be ridiculous. He was married to my best friend and business partner. And he's not even my type. Plus, I was already seeing Stuart when Trudi first mentioned this thing about Bobby Joe. I never really thought it was true. I thought Trudi was just being paranoid. I probably shouldn't have even mentioned it.

TA: Who is Stuart?

KC: Stuart Swanson. I've been seeing him for about eight months now.

SM: So you don't believe Bobby Joe Rose was having an affair.

KC: No.

SM: If he had been, who do you think it could have been with?

KC: I have no idea. He works so much, I don't see how he'd have time to have an affair.

SM: So it could have been someone from his office? A co-worker? A client?

KC: I told you, I really don't think he was seeing anyone.

SM: Why did Mrs. Rose think he was?

KC: She never said exactly. She just said she had a feeling, but she never told me why. I think she was just being paranoid.

TA: So you can't think of anyone who might want to hurt or kill you and/or Mrs. Rose? Any of your former or current employees or clients?

KC: No! I can't even imagine.

TA: What about Corinna Morgan? You fired her recently. Do you think she was upset enough about that to want revenge?

KC: No, I don't think so. That wouldn't be like Corinna at all.

TA: Was it like Corinna to steal client files?

KC: Actually, no. I was really surprised about that. I didn't think I'd actually find the files when I looked in her briefcase, but there they were. I didn't know what to think.

TA: Why did you look in her briefcase that day? Is that something you normally do?

KC: No, not at all. Normally, we respect our employees' privacy as much as our clients'. But when I found out she might be taking files, well... I couldn't let that go. I had to check.

TA: How did you find out about the files?

KC: Someone in the office told me.

TA: Who?

KC: I'd rather not say.

TA: Why? We really need you to tell us.

KC: The person who told me was really uncomfortable about it and asked me not to tell anyone who'd told me what Corinna was doing.

TA: Did you tell Trudi who it was?

KC: Of course.

SM: We need you to tell us. It may seem like it doesn't have anything to do with Mrs. Rose's death, but that kind of thing is often difficult to judge.

KC: Well... okay. Dana told me. Dana Pomeroy.

TA: What did she tell you exactly?

KC: Well, I don't remember word for word, but basically she said she'd seen Corinna put several client files in her briefcase before she left for lunch.

TA: You believed her? You didn't think it was strange that Corinna would put these files in her briefcase and then go out to lunch without it? If she was planning to steal the files, wouldn't she have taken them with her then?

KC: Well... yes, when you put it that way, it does sound a little strange. But at the time, I was very concerned about the possibility that files were being stolen and I guess I didn't stop to think about the logistics.

TA: Is it possible Dana might have lied about how the files got there?

KC: Why would she do that? How did the files get in the briefcase if Corinna didn't put them there? Oh! You're saying maybe Dana put them there? Is that what you're saying?

TA: Do you think that's a possibility?

KC: I don't know. I guess it could be. But why?

TA: Dana was given Corinna's job after she was fired, wasn't she?

KC: Oh, that's just crazy! Dana's a sweet girl. I can't believe she would do something like that.

SM: Are you aware that Dana also does some work for your former employee, Natasha Van Moore, at Good Graces?

KC: Is she still doing that? I knew she was making some extra money working for Natasha when she was only part time with us. I didn't realize she was still working for her.

SM: Does that bother you?

KC: No, not especially. As long as it doesn't take anything away from what she does for us, it's okay with me.

SM: What kind of relationship do you have with Ms. Van Moore?

KC: Oh, when she worked for us, we were pretty close. We used to go shopping together sometimes, go out on the weekends together, things like that. We tried to stay in touch after she left, but we're both so busy, we haven't been very good about it.

SM: How did you feel about her leaving Cupid's Couples?

KC: I was real happy for her, that Good Graces was taking off like it was. We were sorry to lose her, of course. But we weren't upset with her for leaving.

TA: All right, we just need to tie up a few loose ends with you and then we'll be finished.

KC: Okay.

TA: You initially didn't want to let us test you for any kind of poisoning. Why was that?

KC: Because... because I couldn't understand why you wanted to do it. I thought the poisoning thing was... just a theory, I guess. I never really thought... I never really believed Trudi had been poisoned. I certainly never thought I had.

TA: What made you change your mind?

KC: I don't know. I got scared that maybe you were right after all. And Stuart said he thought I should let you do it. He finally convinced me and that's when I called y'all.

SM: When we first talked to you about when you found out Mrs. Rose had died, you told us Mr. Rose had called to let you know. Is that right?

KC: Yes.

SM: Do you remember where you said he was when he called you?

KC: Not word for word, but I think he said he was going to the morgue to identify her body as soon as he got off the phone with me.

SM: But you don't know where he was at the time you two were talking on the phone?

KC: I guess I don't know exactly. I got the impression people were waiting for him, so I guess he was somewhere near the morgue. It's been several weeks. I don't remember all the details.

SM: That's fine. While we're talking about Mr. Rose, was he involved in Cupid's Couples at all?

KC: What do you mean? He's very busy with his law career. Why would he get involved with our business?

SM: So he never helped you and Mrs. Rose with any legal work for Cupid's Couples or anything like that?

KC: Oh well that kind of thing, yes he did. Right after he and Trudi got back from their honeymoon, he helped us take care of some insurance things and he helped us with our clients release forms and other paperwork. We'd been putting those things off for a long time and he more or less forced us to deal with them. He was absolutely right of course. We should have addressed those issues a lot sooner, but we'd been so busy...

TA: What kind of personal insurance do you have? Do you have a life insurance policy?

KC: Yes.

TA: How much is that policy worth and who is the beneficiary?

KC: It's a five hundred thousand dollar policy and Trudi was the beneficiary. I guess I'll need to change that now.

TA: Had you named a secondary beneficiary?

KC: My parents.

TA: Okay. And what would have happened to your share of Cupid's Couples and your other business interests if you had passed away before Trudi?

KC: My half of Cupid's Couples would have gone to Trudi and my other investments would have been transferred to my parents.

TA: And now that you can't leave your share of Cupid's Couples to Trudi?

KC: I don't know what I'm going to do about that. Bobby Joe and I have been talking some about what he wants to do with his half of Cupid's Couples now, but I don't think he's really ready to make a decision yet. If he decides he wants to stay in, I'll probably leave my half to him. If he doesn't, I don't know what I'll do. I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

SM: Ms. Clinton, when you were in your office on Sunday, April 2, the day before Mrs. Rose died, do you remember what you ate and drank while you were there?

KC: I didn't eat anything. I can tell you that. I'd been sick, couldn't keep anything down, so I wasn't eating much. I did have a cup of coffee though. I don't know what I was thinking. Not long after I started drinking it, I started feeling sick again. I left a little while later, didn't even finish my coffee.

SM: Was it plain coffee you were drinking? No sweetener or cream?

KC: No, I had some cream, well the powdered kind, and some sugar in it.

SM: Do you remember if it was powdered sugar or granulated?

KC: Oh, it was the powdered kind. It dissolves better.

SM: Okay. Now, several people have mentioned that Mrs. Rose enjoyed sweets. Would you say that's accurate?

KC: Oh yes. Definitely.

SM: Did she have any particular favorites? Sweet foods she especially liked?

KC: Um... I'd say brownies were her favorite. Chocolate brownies without nuts. She really loved those. Of course, she also really liked lemon bars, blonde brownies, cream cheese brownies, lots of things. But plain chocolate brownies were definitely her favorite.

SM: Thank you, Ms. Clinton. You've been very helpful.

KC: I'm glad. Do you know who did it yet? Do you have any suspects?

TA: We're looking into several people at this time, ma'am.

SM: Thank you for coming in. Don't forget to contact your doctor right away. We'll be in touch if we have any more questions.

End interview: 6:15 p.m.

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