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Witness Interview: Bobby Joe Rose, Husband of Victim

Tuesday, April 4, 2000 - 4:00 p.m.

In response to a request for an interview, Bobby Joe Rose came in to the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Office. Mr. Rose was not in custody and did not wish to have an attorney present during the interview.

M = Det. S. Murphy
A = Det. T. Armstrong
R = Bobby Joe Rose

M: Mr. Rose, first of all, I'd like to say how sorry my department and I are for your loss.

R: Thank you.

A: And we appreciate you making time to come in to talk to us with everything else you're dealing with right now.

R: I want to do whatever I can to help y'all out.

M: Before we continue, could you please state your name and address for the record?

R: Sure. Robert Joseph Rose. Folks call me Bobby Joe. We live at 18 Manning Lane in Oxford.

M: Thank you. Now, Mr. Rose, when did you hear about your wife's death?

R: Someone from your department, I believe, called me. I don't remember. I think I went into shock. It was about five o'clock yesterday afternoon.

M: Where were you when you heard the news?

R: I was in my law office at Milton, Milton & Rose. We were getting ready for a big case the next day... today.

A: Who is we?

R: Myself and two other people - my secretary, Paula Macmillan, and a law clerk, Greg Wingate.

A: Did you leave the office at that time?

R: Yes.

A: Where did you go?

R: I went directly to the morgue where I talked to the Coroner. She showed me... the body... and I said, yes, that is my wife. That's Trudi. And I broke down right there. I sat outside in the hallway for a while, getting myself together. And then I called Kelly.

A: Kelly Clinton, your wife's business partner?

R: Yes. I called her and told her. She was at home. She was very upset, as upset as I was.

A: You called her from the morgue?

R: Yes.

M: Where were you for most of the day yesterday? Before you were notified about your wife.

R: I was in my office, as I've said. My subordinates will verify that for you, if you wish.

M: Thank you. Mr. Rose, did your wife have a life insurance policy?

R: Yes, she did. We took out policies on each other when we got married.

M: And you are the beneficiary to her policy, I assume?

R: Yes, I am.

M: Is there a secondary beneficiary on her policy, Mr. Rose? If, for instance, you pre-deceased her or if the two of you happened to pass on at the same time?

R: I'm sure there is. I don't really remember who it is for sure, but it's probably Kelly. That would make sense. She and Trudi are like sisters.

A: And how much is your wife's policy for?

R: That's confidential.

A: Not really, Mr. Rose. You know we could find out with a phone call, but you could save us that time and trouble, if you'd be so kind.

R: Uh... Two million dollars.

A: I see. Why did you take it out for so much?

R: It seemed standard for someone of our liquid worth. The agent said it was a good round figure.

A: And your agent is?

R: Johnny Stark. He's a Allstate agent, right off the square on Lamar. He helped Trudi and I, almost from the beginning with Cupid's Couples. He helped us get that going in a good, in a large part. And so I kinda stuck with him when he suggested, because our worth had grown so much that, we could need more protection in case anything ever bad, bad ever happened to us, either one of us. Now something has happened to Trudi.

M: I thought your wife started Cupid's Couples before you two met.

R: Oh, she did. She's a smart lady, my wife. But in those early years, she and Kelly didn't spend much money on lawyers and insurance, protecting their interests, you understand? They just met the minimum requirements called for in their loan agreement and so forth. When Trudi and I got married, I helped them get those kinds of things straightened out. One of the first things we did was to make some improvements to their business insurance. It was a good thing we did, as it turned out. So that's when we first got to know Johnny and we've been with him ever since.

M: You said it was a good thing y'all had improved the business insurance. What did you mean by that?

R: Oh, yes. Well, there was that unfortunate business with Ken Edwards. Y'all know about that, right?

M: Maybe you could tell us.

R: Well, I can only tell you what I heard from Trudi and Kelly, you understand? It's just hearsay since I wasn't actually involved in any of it.

M: We understand that. Whatever you can tell us.

R: Fine. As long as we're clear on that. A couple years back, Ken signed up with Cupid's Couples and Trudi introduced him to Natasha Van Moore, who used to work there. It seemed like a real good match. They took to each other right off and got married after just a few months. Kind of like me and Trudi...

M: Mr. Rose? Are you all right? Would you like to take a break?

R: No, I'm fine. I apologize. Where was I?

M: Ken Edwards and Natasha Van Moore got married after a few months.

R: Right. Not too long after they married, things went sour and they got divorced. Apparently, Ken wasn't happy with the way the divorce settlement went and wanted someone to blame because he turned right around and filed suit against Cupid's Couples. His claim was completely groundless and was thrown out of court, but it was good to have that insurance in place, just in case he'd found a sympathetic judge.

M: Would you say that Mr. Edwards is still holding a grudge against your wife?

R: I don't know. You'd have to ask him.

A: Do you know if your wife had any enemies, Mr. Rose? Anyone who might harbor any resentment towards her?

R: No one that I know of. She is... was... a wonderful, sweet woman. Never gave anyone any trouble. I'm devastated.

M: How was her relationship with Ms. Clinton?

R: Fine. Great.

M: No problems between them? No disagreements of any kind?

R: Not that I know of. What are you getting at?

M: So you're saying the two of them weren't having any difficulties?

R: Yes...

M: You're sure?

R: Well, now that you mention it, I'm not completely sure.

M: Why not?

R: Something was definitely bothering Trudi. She wouldn't talk about it, so I don't know if it had anything to do with Kelly or not. I guess it could have been about Kelly or about work. I don't know.

A: We don't have any confirmation yet, but we believe your wife might have been poisoned. Would that surprise you?

R: I can't believe that. Who would do such a terrible thing?

A: That's what we're trying to find out. Do you have any experience with poisons?

R: I see where this is going, and no, I don't know anything about poisons and I resent your implication. Are you planning to charge me with something?

A: No, we're not. We just need to get these questions answered. Everyone who was close to Mrs. Rose is being interviewed. When was the last time you saw your wife?

R: Yesterday morning, when we both left for work. She was in a pretty good mood because business has been really good. It always is around this time of year, spring is in the air and all that. It's like tax time for an accountant. Plenty of work.

A: What time was that, when you and your wife left for work?

R: Around eight o'clock, I think.

M: Did she seem out of the ordinary in any way when she left?

R: No. She mentioned that she needed to get to the office because she had a lot of work to do and Dana was going to be out all morning. That was about all. I told her I loved her and then I sent her on her way.

M: Did you hear from her again? Talk to her on the phone or get a message from her or anything like that?

R: No.

A: Did you and your wife have breakfast together yesterday?

R: No, there wasn't time. We don't usually eat together in the mornings, except on the weekends sometimes.

A: Do you know what she had for breakfast?

R: No. If she's hungry, she usually picks something up at one of the places on the Square or just stops by the Chevron. It's across the street from her office, you know. Sometimes she brings something from home, if she's baked the night before.

A: Did she do that a lot? Bake something to take in to the office?

R: Whenever she has time. She likes to make brownies, lemon bars, and things like that. She says it helps the clients relax if they have some comfort food to snack on.

M: Did she mention whether she was having any trouble with anyone lately?

R: What kind of trouble?

M: Any kind.

R: No.

M: Has there been anything unusual about her behavior lately?

R: What do you mean?

M: Has her mood been different than normal? Has she seemed more tired, more stressed, quieter, tenser, happier, more talkative, more relaxed than she usually was? Has she been sick?

R: She hasn't been feeling too well lately - stomach trouble - but we figured it was a combination of stress and that bug that's going around her office.

M: Have you been sick too? Gotten that same bug?

R: Not so far. I've been lucky.

A: What was your wife feeling stressed about?

R: What do you mean?

A: You said you thought her ailment was a combination of stress and the bug. What kind of stress was she under?

R: Well, it's a busy time of the year for her as I said, so there's a lot of work. Plus, she was trying to train Dana and get her up to speed. And Kelly's been out sick a good bit. Just the usual life stuff.

A: I'd understood that Dana Pomeroy has worked at Cupid's Couples for more than a year. She's still being trained?

R: I don't remember how long she's worked there, but she just switched from part-time to full-time several weeks ago after they had to let Corinna go.

M: Corinna?

R: Corinna Morgan.

A: Why did they fire her?

R: You should ask Kelly about that. I don't really know any details. Trudi never wants to talk about it. I don't think she wanted to fire her, but for some reason they had to. I'm not familiar with the specifics.

M: I believe that's all the questions we have for now, Mr. Rose. Is there anything else you would like to add?

R: Just that I want you to find out what happened to my wife. Anything I can do to help you, please call me.

M: We will. And thank you again for coming in. I know this is a hard time for you.

R: You're welcome.

End interview: 4:25 p.m.

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