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Interview: Michelle Prescott, victim's roommate and cousin

Monday, May 24, 2004 -- 3:30 PM

Michelle Prescott, the victim's roommate, was interviewed by Det. Sam Murphy and Det. Ted Armstrong, and was recorded on a portable tape recorder with the witness's knowledge and consent.

TA = Detective T. Armstrong
SM = Detective S. Murphy
MP = Michelle Prescott

SM: Thanks for meeting with us today. Can you please state your name and address?

MP: Michelle Prescott, 588 Hathorn Road, Apartment 232. That's at The Turn, here in Oxford.

SM: How old are you, Ms. Prescott?

MP: Twenty-one. Graduating next month.

SM: What is your relationship to Ms. Waterson?

MP: I'm her cousin. I mean, we lived together. We were roommates.

SM: For how long?

MP: Since I started college here. That was in 2000, fall of 2000 -- four years. I'm sorry. This is harder than I thought.

SM: That's all right. We can wait.

MP: No. Go on.

SM: Ms. Prescott, can you tell us what happened yesterday?

MP: All right. I came home yesterday morning, it was about nine. Maybe a little before. I came in and didn't think anything was wrong. Kristi slept in a lot. I went to my room and began putting away my clothes and things away. I noticed my makeup remover was missing. She was always taking without asking. She would run out of her shampoo or her toothpaste at the last minute and then she would just take what she wanted. She didn't plan well. I went in and saw she wasn't in her bed. And in the bathroom the light was on in the closet and I saw-- well, I saw her and I called the police.

SM: Where had you been before returning to the apartment?

MP: I stayed the night with my boyfriend.

SM: What's his name?

MP: Rob LaRouche. Over on Elm Street.

SM: When did you go over there?

MP: We had a date. I met him at seven or so. We went for a drive and watched a DVD. “Sense and Sensibility” -- it's one of my favorites. He'd never seen it.

SM: Where did you go on your drive?

MP: Just down some back roads is all. We just wanted to get out and enjoy the weather, you know?

TA: What time did you get back?

MP: About eight-thirty, I think.

TA: Did you go out after that at all?

MP: No. We had reservations for later at the Downtown Grill, but we weren't up for a late night, and all that wine. We would've gotten home after 11:00 and we both wanted to get an early start. So we just ordered pizza.

SM: When you left, was Kristi here?

MP: Yes. I think she had plans, but I don't know. It's hard to think that's the last time -- that I wouldn't see her again. I'm sorry, it's still a shock.

SM: Of course.

MP: Please, go on.

SM: About what time did you get back to your boyfriend's apartment after the drive, would you say?

MP: Maybe seven-thirty or so.

TA: And you didn't go out after that?

MP: No. Just the two of us.

SM: Does he have a roommate then?

MP: No.

TA: Ms. Prescott, it now appears that Ms. Waterson was the victim of a homicide.

MP: Pardon?

TA: Her killer apparently staged the suicide. I know this comes as a shock. But it's important that you tell us anything you can remember about where she was going Saturday night.

MP: I don't believe this. It's terrible.

TA: Did she mention any specifics at all?

MP: No. She was meeting someone, I think. But I couldn't tell you who.

TA: Did she have a steady boyfriend, maybe going on a date?

MP: No. Not recently. There was someone, but they broke up back around the first of the year. I can't believe this. I'm sorry, it's just so terrible.

TA: Do you recall her boyfriend's name?

MP: Hunter -- Hunter Nelson, I think. I mean I didn't know him well.

SM: How long did they date?

MP: It was for some while. I mean I guess she started seeing him last fall, before mid-terms.

SM: Would you say they had an intimate relationship?

MP: If you're asking if they had sex, I'm certain they did. Of course, I never saw anything, but Kristi told me.

SM: How did they meet?

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MP: Well -- it's terrible to talk about this, so soon after -- well, after everything. But I believe they met through Kristi's class. I mean that he was a student.

TA: Isn't that against the rules?

MP: I'm sure it was. It's not something Kristi and I agreed about. I'm not saying we argued, but I preferred to know as little as possible about it. She was as discreet as she could be. Anyway, they broke up, I think -- or maybe they got back together. Recently she mentioned something about a date, but I never heard a name. I'm afraid I didn't keep track.

TA: You seem troubled by Ms. Waterson's love life.

MP: No -- not troubled. I certainly can't judge. It's just that it was, as you say, against the rules. It seemed imprudent to me -- reckless.

SM: When they broke up, was this Hunter fellow angry?

MP: I'm sorry, I don't know the particulars.

SM: Did they ever fight?

MP: Kristi never mentioned anything like that. But if you're implying he might have had cause to -- I mean, I can't imagine he'd do that. I didn't know him, but I knew Kristi -- she wouldn't associate with anyone dangerous.

TA: You just said she was reckless.

MP: Yes, but-- I only meant in terms of dating students-- dating a student. She wasn't a fool.

TA: Students? Were there others?

MP: I'd rather not say. I hate to think-- I wouldn't want her reputation to be harmed.

SM: Please. It's important we know everything.

MP: Of course. I'm sorry. It's still so shocking. But yes, I believe she dated a few students. I couldn't tell you the particulars. As I said, I tried to keep out of it as much as possible. It was a sore point and I preferred to avoid pressing on the bruise.

TA: Well, Ms. Prescott, I hate to press on the bruise, as you put it so delicately, but it seems you know more and you need to tell us. You said Ms. Waterson was reckless. What did you mean by that?

MP: Just as I said -- simply that dating students was foolish to my mind, especially when you consider what was at stake. I mean her reputation on the faculty, her entire career. She never thought to the future. She never thought perhaps some day she might want to be with someone who wouldn't appreciate her past. The quality of people you choose to associate with -- that says so much about a person. Maybe she didn't realize it has to be a deliberate choice. She acted without thinking.

TA: Unlike you, right?

MP: Pardon?

TA: You don't strike me as reckless.

MP: All I meant is that it's important to be cautious. To realize actions have consequences.

SM: Did you and Ms. Waterson argue about her love life?

MP: Not argue, no. It's more accurate to say I was concerned. I was concerned that-- well, I didn't like how casual she was about the consequences. She thought money could undo any mistakes she made. She wrecked cars, caused scenes, did anything she could to get noticed. The more she did, however, the more people looked away. Her father's money saw to that. I thought that was reckless too -- to spend money that way, throw it around.

TA: You said you and Ms. Waterson talked about her relationship with Hunter Nelson. What did she tell you exactly?

MP: I don't remember exactly.

SM: Please, Ms. Prescott. It's important.

MP: I'm sorry. It's just so disturbing to talk about now. She didn't tell me much, to be honest. I mean, I didn't want to hear the details. All she said was that he was a good lover, and I ended the conversation there. She knew it was upsetting to me to hear, but she always tried to tell me anyway -- as though she enjoyed making me upset. Most of the time, I just left the room.

SM: This happened frequently?

MP: She liked to talk about her exploits, yes. I told her I didn't want to hear about it. I mean, I would try to head the conversation off in a different direction. I wanted her to consider counseling, to be honest. It was worrisome to me -- I mean I was worried about her health along with everything else. She told me she liked to be rough, and it didn't seem she was taking any precautions against disease.

SM: Rough how?

MP: Sometimes there were bruises. You see why I was concerned.

SM: Bruises where?

MP: On her neck, thighs, marks on her wrists, as though-- well, as though she'd been tied up. It's too horrible to think of now. I mean, I didn't do enough to stop her.

TA: What about names? Can you tell me names of any of her other boyfriends?

MP: I don't know. I didn't want to encourage her -- perhaps that was my fault. I just wanted to distance myself.

TA: You had your own reputation to think of, right?

MP: No, it wasn't like that. I just I couldn't stand to be a part of it. She wouldn't even consider help. What more could I do for her? She and I disagreed about it. I mean, it was an impasse. We simply avoided arguing about it.

SM: What about girlfriends?

MP: Pardon?

SM: Did Ms. Waterson have sexual relationships with women?

MP: No. Or not that I knew of.

TA: Was Rob LaRouche in any of Ms. Waterson's classes?

MP: Pardon?

TA: Your boyfriend. Would he have been one of Ms. Waterson's students?

MP: No. I mean-- he's a business major, so naturally it might have been one of his requirements to have a lecture of hers. But -- if you're suggesting other than that -- they were involved, it couldn't be possibly farther from the truth. Absolutely not.

SM: All right. Ms. Prescott, it's important that we try to get all the details straight, so can you try to remember when you last saw Kristi's ex-boyfriend?

MP: Well, let's see. It's the end of May now, so it would have had to be January that they broke up. I've seen him since then though. He's friends with Dewey, the apartment manager. That's something I really don't know much about, but I do see his car here near Dewey's apartment. The last time would have been last week, maybe last Sunday. I certainly didn't notice him or his car any time Saturday.

SM: Tell us more about this Dewey.

MP: Dewey Devoe. He's the handyman here, the apartment manager.

TA: Did Ms. Waterson ever date him?

MP: No. That's a cruel thing to say. No. In fact, she was angry with him, or we both were. A few weeks ago her parents were here for a visit and Aunt Ginger fell and broke her hip. Terrible -- it was because of the refrigerator. There was a leak we'd asked Dewey to fix months ago. There was water on the floor and she slipped. I told Kristi she should sue and I think she was considering it. Anyway, she's all right now -- Aunt Ginger is all right. I mean her hip is okay; she can get around with a cane.

SM: You say Ms. Waterson was going to sue him?

MP: Him, I'm not sure. The owner of the complex would be my bet. I didn't know the details. The lease is in her name, so it was entirely her decision.

TA: Were there any troubles you knew of in terms of Ms. Waterson's job? Or maybe money trouble?

MP: Money is not something she had trouble with, no. We're both fortunate that way. And I wouldn't know about her job. She seemed to be doing fine, as far as I could tell. She seemed to be content where she was.

SM: Who can you think of who would do something like this?

MP: Kristi was like a sister, no one hated her. I just can't imagine. It's absolutely monstrous.

SM: Okay. We may need to talk with you again at some point, but thanks for your time.

MP: Of course.

TA: Please call if anything else comes up.

MP: Thank you. I will.

Interview ends -- 4:27 PM

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