Canvass – Billee's Auto Service
YCSD investigators interviewed employees of Billee's Auto Service to determine whether any of them had any information about the anonymous text messages sent to Veronica Smith that originated near that location.
The interviews summarized are some of the most typical or relevant to the investigation and are representative of all interviews conducted.
Name: Carl Beck
Address: 428 Beauregard Circle, Oxford, MS
Mr. Beck is the head mechanic at Billee's Auto Service. Beck said he had been working there almost as long as Lee himself. He said he had a good relationship with Lee despite Lee's bad temper and said he had managed the shop for Lee for a short time when Lee's sister passed away last year.
When asked about the sister's death, Beck said Lee had a tough time when she died and rarely spoke about it. Beck said Lee seemed to be in better spirits when his brother-in-law was in the shop and speculated that Lee let his brother-in-law work a few shifts a week in the office because of that.
When asked to identify the brother-in-law, Beck said the man mostly stayed in the office away from the other employees. Beck said he'd heard other employees refer to the man as Kay. Beck described the man as white and middle-aged but said he couldn't be more specific because he hadn't seen the man for a few weeks.
When asked if he'd seen Lee or anyone else sending text messages, Beck said, "Everyone texts nowadays, right?"
When asked if he knew Veronica Smith, Beck said he thought she had been a customer at the shop but didn't remember meeting her.
Name: Riley Drasinski
Address: 15 CR 1106, Oxford, MS
Mr. Drasinski is a tune-up mechanic at Billee's Auto Service. Drasinski said he had nothing to do with the vehicle owned by Veronica Smith because he doesn't work with tires. Drasinski said lower-level employees generally take care of those jobs, but in Smith's case, Lee oversaw the work himself. Drasinski said he didn't know why and didn't care because he isn't interested in shop talk. He just does his job and ignores the rest.
When asked if he had a personal connection to Veronica Smith, Drasinski said he had never heard of her until her car was in for service and didn't hear her name again after that until she was in the news when she died.
Drasinski said he'd seen employees and customers sending texts at the shop and that it wasn't anything unusual. He said he often texted his girlfriend during the day and believed other employees texted their friends and family during work as well. Drasinski said he couldn't remember whether he'd ever noticed Lee sending text messages.
Name: Franklin Waters
Address: 314 Park Lane, Oxford, MS
Mr. Waters is a brake technician at Billy Lee's garage. When asked what kind of boss Lee was, Waters said he was easy to work for unless someone made a mistake. Waters said Lee got very mad and mean when that happened, and whoever made the mistake was docked for the cost and given a warning that the next one would cost his job.
Waters said that Lee towed Veronica Smith's vehicle in himself and was there the next morning to watch over the tire replacements. Waters said Lee told him that he thought Smith would make an excellent return customer.
When asked if he ever saw anyone in the shop sending text messages, Waters said all the employees did but hastened to add that they only texted on breaks, never when they were on the clock. When asked if he ever saw Lee, in particular, sending text messages to anyone, Waters said he didn't specifically remember that, but it could have happened.
Waters said he never met Veronica Smith and knew of no connections between anyone at the shop and her other than her tire repair.