Dawn Thurman interview
Dawn Thurman was Philip Fontaine's personal trainer.
Detectives Armstrong and Murphy interviewed her at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department.
Tuesday, July 14, 2020 – 12:01 p.m.
- Detective T. Armstrong
- Detective S. Murphy
- Dawn Thurman
Detective Murphy: This is Detective Armstrong, and I'm Detective Murphy.
Detective Armstrong: We're going to keep you probably 15-20 minutes today, and then you can get back to your busy schedule. How's that?
Dawn Thurman: I really appreciate that.
Detective Murphy: Would you please state your name and address?
Dawn Thurman: Dawn Thurman and I live at 128 Leighton Road, apartment 232.
Detective Armstrong: And your occupation?
Dawn Thurman: I'm a personal trainer and a professional massage therapist.
Detective Murphy: Thanks for talking with us today, Ms. Thurman.
Dawn Thurman: Well, I'm not sure what I can do for you, but I'm willing to try.
Detective Murphy: Okay, well, are you employed by any specific gym or health club?
Dawn Thurman: I do massages and personal training at the Oxford Health Club, but only part-time. My business is more client-by-client. I'll meet with them at whatever gym they use or at the student gym on campus or at their house. Pretty much wherever. When I meet with them at some gyms, though, I have to give a percentage of my fee to the club.
Detective Murphy: Were you acquainted with Philip Fontaine?
Dawn Thurman: I figured that's why you wanted to talk to me. Yeah, I knew him. It's a terrible tragedy what happened to him.
Detective Murphy: How would you describe your relationship with him?
Dawn Thurman: He was... he was my client, and we were friends.
Detective Murphy: Just friends?
Dawn Thurman: Yes. I mean, he was a married man. It's not like we could have dated or anything. What did you think? That he was going to take me to the movies or take me to the Downtown Grill for a nice dinner?
Detective Armstrong: Or what if he just took you to the Ole Miss Motel instead?
Dawn Thurman: That's rude!
Detective Murphy: Were you intimate with Philip Fontaine?
Dawn Thurman: No, we weren't intimate. That's for sure.
Detective Armstrong: Were you physically intimate with him? Maybe you weren't emotionally intimate. Did y'all get physically intimate?
Dawn Thurman: Why don't you just leave me alone? I didn't have to come here.
Detective Murphy: No, you didn't. But you were fond of Philip Fontaine, and you want to help us find the person who killed him, don't you?
Dawn Thurman: Yes, I do.
Detective Murphy: Well, then it's time to be honest and tell us the truth. You're not going to help us if you hold anything back.
Dawn Thurman: I don't know why I bother. It's not like the whole town doesn't know. Yes, okay? We were physically intimate. We were lovers. Whatever you want to call it. We were having an affair.
Detective Murphy: How did the two of you become involved?
Dawn Thurman: Well, Philip hired me for some massages. He'd hurt his back on a job site, and he'd heard my name around town, so he just called me up. I get a lot of business that way.
Detective Murphy: How long were you working with Mr. Fontaine before you became involved?
Dawn Thurman: I think it was just the one time. Yeah, I went to his house to do his massage. And then the next day, I called him up to check on him. I always try to provide really good service to my clients. And then during that phone conversation, I asked him if he wanted to go to lunch to discuss his treatment. And then during that lunch, well, we started flirting, and one thing led to another.
Detective Armstrong: You know, you're going to call me rude again, but what you describe as good service sounds to me like an experienced gold digger.
Dawn Thurman: What are you trying to say?
Detective Armstrong: I'm trying to say that you've got a reputation around town. That's why you get all this business from people calling you up out of the blue. You went over to the Fontaines' house, your eyes lit up at the mansion, and so the next day you just called him and invited him out. It had nothing to do with treatment, except you tried to weasel in on his life. Come on, you called to check on him? It's not like you're a brain surgeon and you just operated on him.
Dawn Thurman: It wasn't like that!
Detective Murphy: Then tell us what it was like.
Dawn Thurman: Well, we enjoyed each other. He made me laugh. And it's not like that witch of a wife did anything for him.
Detective Murphy: Tell us a little bit more about that. You don't approve of Mrs. Fontaine?
Dawn Thurman: Hell, how could I? That little tart ran around town with any man available.
Detective Armstrong: Oh, may I remind you that you're the one having the affair with a married man? A rich married man.
Dawn Thurman: I know what it sounds like, and I know what you think of me. But it wasn't like that.
Detective Armstrong: Did Fontaine continue to pay for your so-called services after you guys became intimate?
Dawn Thurman: Yes, but what's wrong with that?
Detective Murphy: So you continued to accept money from Philip Fontaine after you began having the affair?
Dawn Thurman: Yes, I just said that. But what's wrong with that? I was working for him.
Detective Armstrong: Well, that's an accurate way of putting it. You're just a regular working girl.
Dawn Thurman: Look here, mister. If you don't stop with your trash, I can leave. I don't have to talk to you.
Detective Murphy: Do you know any of the names of any of the men that you claim Ashley Fontaine was involved with?
Dawn Thurman: The main one is Kyle Parker.
Detective Murphy: And how do you know about that relationship?
Dawn Thurman: Their marriage wasn't the healthiest thing in the world, okay? She probably knew about me, and I— Philip certainly knew about her affairs. Plus, Parker's in the same business as me, so I'd see them around from time to time.
Detective Murphy: Would you say he was a business competitor?
Dawn Thurman: You could say that.
Detective Murphy: Okay, Dawn. When was the last time you saw Philip Fontaine?
Dawn Thurman: The day he was murdered. We had a workout in the afternoon.
Detective Armstrong: The kind of workout with weights and cardio or the kind with rough sheets at the Ole Miss Motel?
Dawn Thurman: It was at the health club!
Detective Murphy: Did you have any plans to see Philip later?
Dawn Thurman: Yeah, but he never showed up.
Detective Murphy: So where were you on the night of Friday, January 13th?
Dawn Thurman: I was at The Roadhouse.
Detective Armstrong: Who was with you?
Dawn Thurman: I was by myself.
Detective Murphy: And how long were you there?
Dawn Thurman: Let's see. I got there around 10:00, 10:30 and stayed for about an hour, and then I went home. The bartender saw me there. Will can vouch for me.
Detective Armstrong: We didn't ask for anyone to vouch for you.
Dawn Thurman: I know. I just figured that would be your next question.
Detective Murphy: And where were you before you went to The Roadhouse?
Dawn Thurman: I was at the gym.
Detective Murphy: Did you have clients?
Dawn Thurman: No, I worked out myself, and then I just hung around for an hour or two and talked with some of the staff.
Detective Murphy: Did you ever talk to Philip Fontaine about divorce?
Dawn Thurman: Off and on. But he could never make up his mind. You know, the man had been married multiple times before. You'd think divorce wouldn't be that big of a deal to him.
Detective Murphy: Did you two imagine that you could have a legitimate relationship with him if he was divorced?
Dawn Thurman: I'll be honest. I would have liked that. I cared a great deal for him.
Detective Murphy: You don't seem that upset about his death.
Dawn Thurman: Of course, I am. It's a terrible thing.
Detective Armstrong: No tears, no red eyes. I don't see what I usually see when I look at a murder victim's loved ones.
Dawn Thurman: We all grieve in different ways, Detective.
Detective Murphy: Do you know of anyone who might have wanted to hurt Philip Fontaine?
Dawn Thurman: I'd check with that hussy he was married to, her and Kyle Parker. I bet they would just love to be snuggled up in that big bed in that nice house.
Detective Armstrong: And you wouldn't like that?
Dawn Thurman: I'm tired of your garbage. If there's nothing else y'all want to ask me that doesn't have to do with you putting me down, then we're done. I'm out of here.
Detective Murphy: Thank you, Ms. Thurman. I promise we'll be in touch.
Interview ended – 12:21 p.m.