Richard Hayes interview #2
Tuesday, January 17, 2023 – 4:00 p.m.
Richard Hayes is Kenneth Lemmons's lawyer in the Veronica Smith malpractice suit.
Detectives Armstrong and Murphy interviewed him at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department.
- Detective T. Armstrong
- Detective S. Murphy
- Richard Hayes
Detective Armstrong: Would you please state your name and address for the record?
Richard Hayes: My name is Richard Hayes, and I live at 314 South 5th Street, Oxford, Mississippi.
Detective Murphy: Did your client step out to use the bathroom?
Richard Hayes: Kenneth Lemmons will not be joining us today.
Detective Armstrong: And why is that?
Richard Hayes: He declines to comment except through me, as is his right.
Detective Armstrong: If I knew he wasn't going to be here, I would have canceled. Why weren't you upfront?
Richard Hayes: He sent me to assist you with the investigation.
Detective Armstrong: Producing Kenneth Lemmons would be of great assistance.
Richard Hayes: He will not be joining us today. Instead, he is represented by his attorney.
Detective Murphy: Has Kenneth Lemmons left the county?
Richard Hayes: My client has not left the county nor does he expect to do so. He's simply tired and in constant pain and prefers to be represented by counsel. Did you have any specific questions today? Updates on your investigation?
Detective Armstrong: Does your client have a job?
Richard Hayes: As you know, his injury prevents him from working.
Detective Armstrong: So he's not driving a truck, but is he working anywhere else?
Richard Hayes: I believe I've already answered that.
Detective Armstrong: He's not doing a little work off the books for his brother-in-law?
Richard Hayes: Detective, I know you're not a stupid man, and so I know you understood what I said the last two times you asked that question. Rephrase it all you like, but the answer won't change.
Detective Armstrong: So if we told you we had proof that your client works at Billee's Auto Service?
Richard Hayes: It would be news to me.
Detective Murphy: Are you aware that someone slashed all four tires on Dr. Smith's car and that her car was towed to Billee's Auto Service to replace the ruined tires?
Richard Hayes: I was not, but I fail to understand why you think I would.
Detective Murphy: Your client may have had access to Dr. Smith's car.
Richard Hayes: I can ask him that if you wish, but I don't see the purpose of the question. Was her car tampered with in any way?
Detective Armstrong: Other than the tires? Not that we've discovered so far.
Richard Hayes: I could understand your interest if Dr. Smith had died after losing control of her car or when one of the systems in her vehicle failed, but she died in her bedroom. When did the alleged slashing take place?
Detective Murphy: December 19th. And it wasn't alleged.
Richard Hayes: Well, that's it then. Dr. Smith was alive for quite some time after that. Perhaps if her car had been in Billee's Auto Service the day before she passed away, maybe then there could have been some connection between the two events, but weeks prior? I hardly think so. Did you have any other questions for my client today?
Detective Armstrong: Is he continuing with the lawsuit?
Richard Hayes: Of course. While Kenneth Lemmons offers his condolences to the husband and children of Dr. Smith on their loss, his determination to see justice done is not affected by the doctor's untimely death.
Detective Murphy: There's just the one child, Haley. She's ten.
Richard Hayes: That's a horrible thing, losing her mother. Who knows how many young people might have lost a parent if Dr. Smith had continued to practice medicine? Any other questions?
Detective Armstrong: I think we're done for now, but your client isn't off the hook. We still want to talk to him.
Richard Hayes: Maybe when he's feeling better. Call my office next week, and we'll see if his condition has improved enough for him to meet with you.
Detective Murphy: Are you sure this is the tack you want to take?
Richard Hayes: I don't know what you mean, Detective. I'm just looking out for my client's health. Y'all have a good day now.
Interview ended – 4:13 p.m.