YCSD investigators interviewed George O’Connor’s friends and acquaintances to learn more about him, his relationships, and his activities the night his wife died.
The interviews summarized are some of the most typical or relevant to the investigation and are representative of all interviews conducted.
Name: Bill Barton
Address: 2015 Brandywine Drive, Oxford, MS
Mr. Barton and his daughter Mary Beth attended the same Girl Scout Dance as Mr. O’Connor and Haley Smith.
Barton said he and O’Connor had a conversation when they first arrived at the dance but sat at different tables during dinner.
Barton said the next time he spoke to O’Connor was around 8:00 p.m. in the men’s room, where O’Connor was wiping off his shirt. Barton said it looked like O’Connor had spilled punch on his shirt.
Barton said he didn’t have the opportunity to speak with O’Connor again the rest of the evening, but saw O’Connor and Haley walking toward their car around 9:30 or 9:45 p.m.
Name: Tom Morgan
Address: 900 Olde Creek Lane, Oxford, MS
Mr. Morgan has been friends with George O’Connor for six years. They first met when O’Connor started working at the university, where Morgan is a professor of science. Morgan, who is an avid golfer, invited O’Connor to a golf tournament shortly after O’Connor came to Ole Miss. They have been friends ever since and play golf regularly.
When asked how O’Connor felt about the malpractice suit filed against Dr. Smith, Morgan said naturally O’Connor was upset and concerned about his wife. She was worried about possibly losing her license, and she felt horrible about losing a patient.
Morgan said he saw O’Connor before he left work on the day Dr. Smith died. O’Connor was excited about his date with stepdaughter, Haley, to the Father-Daughter dance. O’Connor told Morgan that Smith was home getting Haley dressed, and he had to remember to pick up a corsage for Haley on his way home.
Name: John Simms
Address: 118 Rayner Road, Oxford, MS
Mr. Sims and his daughter Sara attended the same Girl Scout Father-Daughter dance as Mr. O’Connor and Haley Smith.
Sims said after dinner and before the dance started, he talked to O’Connor for a few minutes while Haley and Sara were off talking to their friends. Sims said he had just glanced at his watch, and it was close to 8:00 p.m.
When asked if O’Connor left the dance at any time, Sims said at one point O’Connor accidentally spilled fruit punch on his shirt, at which time O’Connor excused himself and said he was going to the bathroom to try to clean it up.
Sims said Haley and Sara came back while O’Connor was gone, and Haley asked where her father was. Sims said he told her that O’Connor had spilled some punch on his shirt and had gone to clean up, and she should wait there until O’Connor returned. Sims said the music started then, so he joined his daughter in a dance.
Sims said after a few dances and some conversation with other attendees, Sara spotted Haley still standing in the same place, so they went over to check on her. Sims said Haley was upset because O’Connor hadn’t returned yet. Sims estimated it had been around 20 minutes since O’Connor left.
Sims said he was just getting ready to check the bathroom when O’Connor came back into the dance. Sims said O’Connor’s shirt was damp and had red stains on it. O’Connor apologized to Haley, and they went off to dance.
Name: Lee Wong
Address: 100 Hot Spur Lane, Oxford, MS
Mr. Wong is the owner of the flower shop where Mr. O’Connor got the corsage for his stepdaughter. Wong said O’Connor and Dr. Smith frequented his shop on special occasions. Wong said O’Connor had phoned ahead on January 12th and asked him to make a corsage for his daughter for the Father-Daughter dance they were attending that evening.
Wong said he’d known O’Connor and Smith for several years, and Wong and his wife had dinner with them on occasion. Wong said his daughter attends the same school as Haley Smith.
When asked about the lawsuit, Mr. Wong said George told him about it when he came in to purchase the corsage for Haley. He said Veronica was very upset about losing her patient and worried about the malpractice suit and its effect on her professional reputation and her practice’s reputation.
Mr. Wong said he and his family were saddened when they heard that Veronica Smith was dead.